Sweden has a long tradition in planning for disaster situations in which the National Board of Health and Welfare has a key responsibilty within the health sector. One important part of this disaster preparedness is education and training. Since 11 September 2001, much focus has been placed on the acts of terrorism with special reference to the effects of the use of chemical, biological, or nuclear/radiological (CBNR) agents. In the health sector, the preparedness for such situations is much the same as for other castastrophic events. The National Board of Health and Welfare of Sweden is a national authority under the government, and one of its responsibilities is planning and the provision of supplies for health and medical services, environmental health, and social services in case of war or crises. “Joint Central Disaster Committees” in each County Council/Region in the country are responsible for overseeing major incident planning for their respective counties/regions. The “Disaster Committee” is responsible for ensuring that: (1) plans are established and revised; (2) all personnel involved in planning receive adequate information and training; (3) equipment and supplies are available; and (4) maintenance arrangements are in place.
Sweden adopts a “Total Defense” strategy, which means that it places a high value in preparing for peacetime and wartime major incidents. The Swedish Emergency Management Agency coordinates the civilian Total Defense strategy, and provides funding to the relevant responsible authority to this end. The National Board of Health and Welfare takes responsibility in this process. In this area, the main activities of the National Board of Health and Welfare are: (1) the establishment of national guidelines and supervision of standards in emergency and disaster medicine, social welfare, public health, and prevention of infectious diseases; (2) the introduction of new principles, standards, and equipment; (3) the conducting education and training programmes; and (4) the provision of financial support. The budget for National Board of Health and Welfare in this area is approximately 160 million SEK (US$18 million). The National Board of Health and Welfare also provides funding to the County Councils/Regions for the training of healthcare professionals in disaster medicine and crises management by arranging (and financing) courses primarily for teachers and by providing financial support to the County Councils/Regions for providing their own educational and training programmes. The National Board of Health and Welfare provides funding of approximately 20 million SEK (US$2.4 million) to the County Councils/Regions for this training of healthcare professionals in disaster medicine and crises.