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Finland: 6 days in the country of Healthcare, Education and AI

Keys of happiness in Finland:

6 days in the country of Healthcare, Education and Artificial Intelligence

 On 11th of March, I received an email from HE Riitta Swan the Ambassador of Finland in Abu Dhabi, inviting me to visit Helsinki as Finland is one of the leading countries in health care, public health, health technology and happiness under cooperation with Helsinki Business Hub. 

Mrs. Swan added, “My Ministry would like to invite a few journalists to Finland to get acquainted with our model Life Science. We call this theme "From a baby to a grandfather", meaning wellbeing and health care off the whole life span of a person. Our idea is to tell and show with practical examples how people are taken care of in Finland. The trip will focus on topics like health care system, digital health, health data and health technology.”

Earlier of February in Dubai, I had met with Mrs. Pirkko Mattila, the Minister of Social Affairs and Health in Finland and it was a hope that I can have the opportunity to look closely at that advanced level of healthcare in an inspiring country, not only to write some featured story at E Business Review but basically to discover the possibility to build a stronger cooperation bridge between Finland & UAE and maybe number of other countries in the Region.

On 22nd of April I began navigating into a very rich and tight program with another 8 journalists from 8 different countries to get a serious experience about Finnish Equation of Happiness and Progress in 4 days!

From the schedule I could discover that it’s a visit to an integrated system not just for number of successful units independent of each other.

The health care system in Finland is organically linked to social welfare so they are subject to a single ministry, and technological development and Artificial Intelligence serve both.

From landing to meeting with Ambassador Noora Juma!

On the way to Finland and at the transit time in Copenhagen airport, I received a call from Mr. Abdulla Al Neyadi, the 2nd Secretary at UAE Embassy in Helsinki telling me that I’m invited for lunch meeting once I arrive to Helsinki with HE Ambassador Noora Juma.

It was fantastic starter for the trip, Amb. Noora talked about the good relation between UAE & Finland and the hopefully cooperation in various fields, especially artificial intelligence, health care and education.

 The revolution of Biobank!

According to scientific sources, biobank is a ‘type of biorepository that stores human biological samples for use in research.’

Since the late 1990s biobanks have become an important resource in medical research, supporting many types of contemporary research like genomics and personalized medicine.

In 2000s The Biobanks collecting biological samples and data gathered with the donor’s consent for future medical research and product development for healthcare and health promotion purposes.

Your consent could be crucial for the development of new medicines and treatments. Your sample could change the world, ‘Awareness campaign’!

Finland started for the biodata many years before, the roots of Biobank is there.

In Helsinki, I met with Dr. Päivi Sillanaukee, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Social affairs and health was the first interview in Helsinki and it was a fantastic starter.

Dr. Sillanaukee started with an exciting quote “Biodata is the new oil”!

Finland’s biobanks and the innovation-friendly Biobank legislation, comprehensive healthcare registers, electronic medical records and the nation’s isolated gene pool offer great opportunities for drug target discovery, clinical research and Real-World Evidence.

Medical and health research benefit from Finland’s expertise in ICT and mobile technology, patient also benefits directly if necessary or in needs for medical follow-up or surgery. She added.

On 14th of February 2018, Pfizer Finland – a subsidiary of US-headquartered Pfizer Inc. announced that it will use the Bcrquest platform to analyze anonymized data from healthcare organisations, including the Turku University Hospital in southwest Finland, to study patients with an abnormal heart rhythm (atrial fibrillation).  

Bcrquest is a global biobank network that combines data assets to respond to queries regarding genomic and clinical data. 

According to the spokesperson, the BCRQUEST platform can “speed up trial design and reduce costly corrective measures by sending formalised eligibility criteria across distributed hospital networks.”

The platform can also help source “estimates on matching patients within minutes, based on real-time data,”

 AI at service of healthcare

Upon our arrival to Kalasatama Health and Well-being Centre, we were greeted by the very well-known robot Pepper.

At this place a therapy chat that utilises artificial intelligence, a virtual trip that reduces stress, a mobile application that supports stress management, artificial intelligence-assisted nutrition guidance and a food purchasing service that steers you towards a healthy diet. These are the types of digital solutions being piloted and tested in the Kalasatama Wellbeing pilot programme during 2018.

The Kalasatama Wellbeing piloting programme develops digital solutions that support wellbeing and health in collaboration with citizens, the Kalasatama Health and Wellbeing Centre and business partners. The expert jury has now selected a total of five digital services to participate in agile piloting sprints, which will focus on nutrition and wellbeing, with pilots falling in the latter category focusing particularly on stress management.

Lars Rosengren, the Project Manager from the Kalasatama Health and Wellbeing Centre is excited about the pilots starting this spring.

“Now that the Kalasatama Health and Wellbeing Centre is open, piloting can be integrated into the Centre’s everyday operations to get the Centre’s clients and professionals to participate in them. This will be a learning experience for the professionals as well. The digital pilots selected to participate in the programme will expand the range of services that we can jointly offer to the clients of the Kalasatama Health and Wellbeing Centre. The pilots also offer an opportunity to combine the services of different service providers. Services that have a positive impact on health and wellbeing can be provided not only at the Health and Wellbeing Centre, but also elsewhere in the local area and at clients’ homes,” he explains.

The agile pilots, which will last up to six months, provide companies with an excellent opportunity to test their solutions in a real city environment. The pilots are all related to the operations of cooperation partners, such as the Health and Wellbeing Centre, in the Kalasatama area. The project partners include the City of Helsinki Social Services and Health Care Division, the SRV Group, Kesko’s Occupational Health Service and CGI Finland.

The open call for the Kalasatama Wellbeing piloting programme received a total of 32 offers, based on which nine teams were invited to work on their pilots at the Co-creation Jam. There the refined pilots were pitched to an expert jury composed of project partners.

 Finland's maternity package, all children are equal!

In Finland, all children are equal as baby box a part of the social culture there, what’s the idea? And why? For that we visited Kela Institute.

After the enactment of the Maternity Grants Act in 1937, the first maternity grants were provided in the following year. At first, they were intended for low-income mothers only.

The introduction of maternity grants was prompted by concerns over declining birth rates and high infant mortality. Thanks to the maternity grant, Finnish mothers gained access to public health services. Finland has long had one of the lowest levels of infant and maternal mortality in the world.

Early on, the maternity grant was awarded and paid out by municipal welfare boards.

In 1938, about two-thirds of new mothers were paid a maternity grant. At the time, it was paid out at a rate of 450 Finnish markka for each newborn. This was equivalent to a little over a third of the average monthly wage of an industrial worker. The maternity grant was available as a cash grant and a benefit-in-kind, or as a combination of the two.

Each year, Kela awards around 60,000 maternity grants, of which about 40,000 are provided in the form of a maternity package.

For several years now, the fabrics included in the maternity package have been in neutral colours, making them suitable for both girls and boys and more easily matched with other colours. Before the mid-1970s, the principal colour was typically white.

The maternity package changes every year while staying true to its roots. Over the years, it has become increasingly environment friendly. As an example of this, reusable nappies have been included since 2000.

The maternity package contains baby clothes as well as care products and materials. It is updated yearly in response to feedback from clients. While the range of items remains largely the same, the colours and patterns change, and some completely new items are added as well. There are altogether 50 different items in the box.

The maternity package is not commercially available. It is available solely as a benefit offered under the Finnish social security system. The items it contains are sourced through a competitive bidding process complying with EU law.

 

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