There is increasing awareness that health is a global issue in its real sense. Health workers are trained and migrate across countries; diseases travel across borders through humans, animals, air and water; medicines and equipment are developed by multilateral pharmaceutical industries; and factors such as climate change affecting health are global. This implies many of the solutions are also global, either in terms of involving a number of countries, or in terms of requiring a global level of agreements or interventions, such as through WHO.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have a global focus, as they cover all countries including our own. SDG3, “to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages”, addresses health in a wide and challenging way, as well as through the life cycle. A number of the 17 SDGs with their 169 targets also have major relevance to health. Health improvements may often require interventions in other sectors or across sectors, such as education, environment or energy.

Despite its relative size, Norway plays an important role in global health. Our contributions to maternal and child health, and combatting communicable diseases, especially HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria, are well known. We are also an important partner to WHO and other agencies within global health.

Continued Norwegian engagement in global health requires a strong technical and academic base of people and institutions, covering a wide set of health issues through independent research and debate. This is why Norad and the Centre for Global Health at the University of Oslo decided to collaborate in order to facilitate publication of a series of papers.

We are particularly grateful for the important contributions by The Journal of the Norwegian Medical Association, which enabled this endeavour. We also thank all the authors for their papers. Although we have not been able to include all contributions in the series “Global Health in the Era of Agenda 2030” in this special issue, they are all available, as they have been published in The Journal of the Norwegian Medical Association throughout the year. Our hope is that this will stimulate further engagement and debate not only in Norway, but also globally.

Jon Lomøy Director General, Norad

Prof. Svein Stølen, Rector, University of Oslo

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