Working together in global health across Norway

The Norwegian Forum for Global Health Research began almost exactly 10 years ago, 16 November 2006. A group from Forum and other global health-interested met in Tromsø 3-4 November, 2016.

The meeting was hosted by Forum and the Centre for Arctic and Global Health (SAG), Norway’s newest global health centre, located at the University of Tromsø. Day 1 (3 Nov.) involved a Forum meeting to discuss highlights from the annual activity plan for 2016 as well as plans for 2017. Day 2 (4 Nov.) was a day-long seminar organized by SAG. A number of the presentations are available on the SAG website.

New global health centre in Tromsø

Forum is committed to improving knowledge exchange and collaboration in global health between Norwegian institutions and researchers. Holding a meeting at the new UiT centre is a part of this strategy. The day-long seminar was entitled, “Global Health in the North”. The range of speakers with short presentations provided an impressive and inspiring glimpse into Global and Arctic health activities at UiT. Forum congratulates the seminar organisers, Inger Scheel, Mona Kiil and Turid Austin Wæhler.

Many of the speakers highlighted principles that are part of Forum’s strategy and purpose:

  • Education is critical to capacity building and sustainable improvements
  • Being culturally aware increases the potential for mutual learning and success
  • Multi, cross-, and inter-disciplinarity approaches are needed
  • Norway, as a small, rich nation, may have a moral obligation to act to improve health and health care in marginalized population groups in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC), but it actually reaps many knowledge- and experience-sharing benefits from such LMIC collaborations

Participants learned more about projects with Russia, Georgia, Tanzania, indigenous peoples, migrants, Haiti, … Speakers shared tips for succeeding with cross-cultural and inter-disciplinary challenges. Future directions include some student-based initiatives.

The impressive range of presentations supports the description SAG has of itself on its website. It says that SAG is a network platform that provides support for networking activities and cross-border collaboration in global health, to health researchers, practitioners and educators based in Northern Norway.

2016 at Forum

Forum has had a busy and successful year. Highlights include:

  • hosting a well-attended conference in Bergen this spring entitled, “Norwegian Global Health Networks with Impact, Bergen 20-21 April 2016”.
  • establishing Norwegian Research School of Global Health (NRSGH) has been established at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). All PhD students across Norway are welcome to participate by becoming members. Membership will enable them to be eligible for travel grants to attend courses in global health subjects taught at institutions across Norway. NRSGH’s first annual PhD conference will be held in conjunction with the GLOBVAC conference next spring, 14-15 March, 2017 in Oslo.
  • Providing input to initiation of a more grounded structure for Norwegian global health activities: the Norwegian Institute of Global Health (NIGH)

Other highlights

SAG is not the only new global health centre to be opened in Norway this year, a Centre for Global Health was also established at the University of Oslo (UiO). The Centre Co-ordinator, Ingeborg Haavardsson, was present in Tromsø.

It was decided that Forum will have a 10-year Jubilee celebration and seminar January 2017. Details will be posted as soon as they are available.