Norway intensifies efforts to fight global disease outbreaks

‘The Ebola outbreak in West Africa showed us how quickly diseases can spread across borders, and how devastating their effects can be on lives, health and economic development. That is why we are now intensifying our efforts to ensure that vaccines are available when the next outbreak occurs,’ said Prime Minister Erna Solberg at the G20 meeting in Hamburg.

The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) was launched at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos in January 2017. At the launch, Norway announced that it would provide NOK 1 billion in support of the first phase of CEPI’s work. The development of vaccines is expensive and time-consuming, which is why the Government is now increasing its contribution to CEPI by NOK 600 million.

CEPI will finance the development of new vaccines against epidemic threats, with a view to being prepared for the next outbreak. In order to ensure that as few people as possible become infected, it is important to give higher priority to preparedness than response. To begin with, CEPI will focus on the diseases Lassa, Nipah and MERS.

‘In order to respond to the global health security challenges we face, collective action and contributions from other countries and private donors are essential,’ said Ms Solberg. Japan, Germany, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Wellcome all announced at Davos that they would also support CEPI by making substantial investments.

Preventing pandemics is one of the main topics at the G20 Summit, which shows how important CEPI’s work is. The leading role played by Norway in the field of global health will now be further strengthened, as the headquarters of CEPI are to be established in Oslo.