Welfare Institutes in Sparsely Populated Areas (WISPA)

This project aims to define the concept and map already existing WISPAs in the Nordic countries and the autonomous territories of the Faroe Islands, Greenland, and Åland.

The concept WISPA (Welfare Institutes in Sparsely Populated Areas) has been used in some recent projects that strive for a stable and available welfare sector in sparsely populated areas of the Nordic Region. There are a few established WISPAs, such as Centre for Rural Medicine in Storuman and Norwegian Centre for Rural Medicine (NCRM) in Tromsø, there are also other ongoing initiatives in Akyreyri and other parts of the Nordic Region.

Ideally, a WISPA should cover both health care and social care in an integrated manner, including home care services. In addition, by coordinating meetings and activities between the identified WISPAs and actors that are interested in developing a WISPA, this project tries to establish a Nordic network that drives development in health care and social care in the Nordics, with a special focus on sparsely populated areas, recruitment and competence supply, and the digital transformation of health care and health care services into a more integrated system.

The long-term goal of this project is to promote an accessible, secure, and stable welfare in sparsely populated areas of the Nordics, which creates a basis for regional development, social sustainability, and a well-functioning labour market in these regions.

In this project, Nordregio is responsible for defining the concept of WISPA and mapping already existing WISPAs and similar initiatives in the Nordic Region, including related research environments, academic actors, and national policies and goals. In addition, based on the results, Nordregio will support the Nordic Welfare Centre in its activities to develop an action plan for collaboration and networking between the Nordic WISPAs and actors that are interested in developing a WISPA.

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