Thualagant N, Simonsen N, Sarvimäki A, Stenbock-Hult B, Olafsdottir HS, Fosse E, Torp S, Ringsberg KC, Forrinder U, Tillgren P
Health Promot Int - (-) - [2022-01-11; online 2022-01-11]
On 30 January 2020, the disease covid-19 was declared by the World Health Organization to be an international threat to human health and on 11 March 2020, the outbreak was declared a pandemic. The aim of this study was to analyse policy strategies developed by the five Nordic countries during the first 3 months of the pandemic from a health promotion perspective in order to identify Nordic responses to the crisis. Although the Nordic countries have a long tradition of co-operation as well as similar social welfare policies and legislation, each country developed their own strategies towards the crisis. The strategies identified were analysed from a health promotion perspective emanating from five principles: intersectorality, sustainability, equity, empowerment and a lifecourse perspective. Denmark, Finland and Norway had lockdowns to varying degrees, whereas Sweden and Iceland had no lockdowns. Iceland implemented a test and tracking strategy from the very beginning. All countries based their recommendations and restrictions on appeals to solidarity and trust in institutions and fellow citizens. The analysis showed that the strategies in all countries could be related to health promotion principles with some differences between the countries especially regarding equity and sustainability. The Nordic governments took responsibility for protecting their citizens by developing policy strategies based on restrictions and recommendations congruent with the principles of health promotion. The findings also identified issues that will pose challenges for future pandemic strategies.