Join the NPA Covid-19 response group

When suddenly more or less all of Europe found itself on lockdown, a group of experts from the NPA programme area decided to work together to better understand what can be done in response to the Covid-19 crisis.

Professor Liam Glynn, University of Limerick, between patients at his medical practice, updating the NPA COVID-19 response group on the situation in Ireland.

The NPA COVID-19 response group is an informal group of experts who have participated in, or led an NPP or NPA e-health project. The group was established by Dr. David Heaney, lead partner of several NPP and NPA healthcare projects, and quickly gathered a large group of interested health experts based in the Northern Periphery and Arctic programme area. The group currently gathers 40 experts from 7 countries.

All members believe that working together is a valuable approach, much needed in this time of crisis.  

The following areas of expertise are covered:

  • clinicians, including rural GPs, and public health specialists
  • health service managers,
  • experts in digital technology, mental health, and social science   

The aim of this group is to increase the understanding of the effects of the Covid-19 crisis on the NPA regions, share and analyse data and look at better or worse practices to learn from. They collaborate on the basis that although they may compete for the same funding at a later stage, at this moment, cooperation is more important.

The group looks at ways in which cooperation can effectively help addressing the multiple challenges posed by this crisis. Five themes are being explored, where joint efforts could be productive:  

  1. Clinical aspects – comparing the different response measures taken by the respective countries, map the rate of infections and observe differences in comparison to national and local COVID strategies; e.g. in rural vs urban areas
  2. Health and well being: The impact of self-isolation on people and their mental health – elderly people and other vulnerable groups who already suffer isolation will be impacted even worse from this situation, but there is a wider effect on the entire population which shall be investigated
  3. Technology solution: What e-health solutions already exist and what should be put in place?  How can technology be brought to those people who need it and/or don’t know how to use it? What are the technologies with the lowest threshold? How can we fast track innovation?
  4. Citizen engagement/Community response:  Small peripheral communities are more self-sufficient, what lessons can they share?
  5. Economic impact: What will be the impact on the public health system now and next year? In what ways have our societies and economies been transformed already? And how will they be transformed in the medium and long term?

Call for action!

This is an inclusive group that works together in the spirit of cooperation. Experts from the NPA programme area who are interested and willing to contribute to the work of this group are warmly invited to join.

Please send an email to Dr. David Heaney (dheaney{at} with a brief explanation why you want to join and the name of NPP or NPA projects you have participated in, if applicable.

A good few of you will know Lee Heaney, who has worked on many NPP/NPA projects over the years. Sadly, her mum, Pat Dowie, died on 21st April 2020 from COVID-19. The work of this group honours the victims of this pandemic