How Norway works with global health

Global health is a prioritized area within Norwegian development policy, built on a premise to promote and respect fundamental human rights and ensuring equal access to health services based on strong, sustainable and nationally owned health systems.

Norwegian efforts in global health are spearheaded by political leadership at the highest level and backed up by global diplomacy and investment of Norwegian aid resources.

Prioritized areas

Health is one of five thematic areas given priority in Norwegian development policy. The other four are education; private sector development and job creation; climate, renewable energy and the environment; and humanitarian aid. These five areas account for the majority of Norway’s aid budget.

Within the health portfolio, Norad has a mandated focus on reducing health inequities and reaching the poorest and most marginalized with development aid.

We focus on the following areas:

  • Women, children and adolescents’ health
  • Sexual and reproductive health and rights 
  • Epidemics of HIV, TB, malaria, hepatitis, neglected tropical and other communicable diseases 
  • Global Health Security and enhanced capacity to detect and respond to epidemics and health emergencies
  • Building cross sectoral collaborations and stronger health systems

Four factors are cross-cutting issues for all Norwegian development policy and aid (including health): human rights, women’s rights and gender equality, climate change and environment, and anti-corruption.

Norway will continue to promote good health for all in the years to come, and has made a special commitment to increase maternal, child and women's health.

Norwegian investments in global health

Norwegian engagement in global health has been initiated and upheld by strong political leadership across administrations. Globally, there have been steadily increasing investments in health, due to increased government investments, diaspora transfers and private investments - but also due to a deliberate scaling up of aid investments in health.

Between 2000 and 2016, Norway invested a total of NOK 53 billion in global health initiatives. During this period, Norwegian health aid quadrupled from NOK 1.2 billion in 2000 to NOK 4.7 billion in 2016.

In 2016, Norway allocated 7 per cent of all its’ aid to health.

Channels for Norwegian global health funds are:

  • Multilateral organizations and global funds
  • National governments in partner countries
  • Norwegian, international and local civil society organizations

In 2016, eighty per cent of Norwegian health aid was channelled through multilateral organizations and global funds.


Our approaches are founded on knowledge-based policy, consensus building and mobilisation.

Several key factors for Norwegian efforts are highlighted in the White Paper Common Responsibility for Common Future (2016/2017)

  • Prevention, including access to clean water, safe food and correct nutrition, good sanitation, vaccination and knowledge about how to promote good health and avoid disease.
  • Reducing social inequalities in health, both between and within countries, and by securing universal access to essential health services through the establishment of good public health systems. 
  • National ownership and control must be safeguarded in order to ensure that health cooperation is based on national priorities and on systems that are sustainable. 
  • Transparency, good governance and zero tolerance for corruption. 

An additional aim is to contribute to more efficient cooperation between the UN-organizations, the World Bank and global funds and alliances within the health sector, in order to strengthen results at the national level.

Our main partners

Norway provides political, financial and technical contributions to numerous actors in global health and health aid.
Most of Norwegian health aid is channelled through multilateral organizations and global funds. In 2016, eighty per cent of the NOK 4.7 billion Norwegian health aid budgets went through these channels.

Our main partners as of 2016 are:

We also cooperate on national level with two governments, those of India and Malawi.

Our largest Norwegian civil society partners are: Norwegian Red Cross, Norwac- Norwegian Aid Committee, Norwegian Church Aid, Digni, LHL and Save the Children Norway.

We also work with several international NGOs in the area of sexual and reproductive health and rights such as International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), Ipas, Marie Stopes International (MSI), Safe Abortion Action Fund (SAAF), Robert Carr Civil Society Networks Fund and others.

Published 21.02.2018
Last updated 23.02.2018