Global Health

Norway’s efforts in the area of global health aim both to combat poverty in low-income countries and to strengthen global health preparedness and international cooperation, which also benefit Norway. Norway plays a leading role in the global health arena and is a major donor in this area. The Government has identified combating communicable diseases as one of six priority areas in Norway’s development policy.

Health is an important component of the Government’s work to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Primary health care services, health education, access to vaccines and medicines, research, and governance must all be improved if we are to reach the SDGs, including reducing disparities and advancing gender equality. Implementing the SDGs involves development cooperation as well as political mobilisation at the international level. SDG 3, which focuses on good health and well-being, provides the basis for the Government’s global health policy.

Bangladesh - national  immunisation programme.  Gavi The Vaccine Alliance
Bangladesh - national immunisation programme. Credit: Gavi The Vaccine Alliance

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to heightened awareness of global health challenges and the importance of effective international cooperation on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response. The Government is seeking to strengthen international cooperation in the area of global health and promote equitable access to vaccines and medicines. Weak health systems and inadequate health care capacity exacerbate the impacts of health crises such as the Covid-19 pandemic. The Government will therefore continue to give priority to strengthening health systems and the training of health personnel.

The Government will continue to focus on women’s health, and will, for example, support activities to improve family planning services and access to safe abortion. Norway’s global health efforts are in line with the UN Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s, and Adolescents’ Health (2016–2030), which seeks to end preventable deaths and promote opportunities for economic and social development.

Combating non-communicable diseases will also continue to be an important part of the Government’s global health efforts. Non-communicable diseases, including cardiovascular diseases, cancer, respiratory diseases, diabetes, and mental disorders, are the primary cause of death worldwide. A higher percentage of people under the age of 70 die from non-communicable diseases in low- and middle-income countries than in other countries. Norway will give priority to efforts to reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases linked to unhealthy diet and poor nutrition, air pollution and climate change, tobacco use, and the harmful use of alcohol, while also working to strengthen primary health care services and promote universal health coverage.

In addition to the World Health Organization (WHO), Norway’s key partners include Gavi the Vaccine Alliance, the Global Fund to fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (Cepi), and the World Bank.