Norway is donating NOK 460 million to the World Health Organization with the aim of promoting better health for all.
Mr Holmås and WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan will sign the agreement during the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in Rio de Janeiro.
“Over half of the world’s hospital beds are filled with people suffering from illnesses caused by contaminated water and sewage. Climate change is exacerbating these problems. Norway wishes to collaborate with the World Health Organization (WHO) to strengthen health services in poor countries, especially in Africa,” Mr Holmås said.
Health is a global public good. Diseases do not respect national borders, and no country can secure the health of its population on its own. International cooperation is therefore crucial. Important areas that Norway will focus on in its collaboration with WHO include climate change, sexual violence and non-communicable diseases.
“One in three women experience violence at some point in their lives. Over the last decade, sexual violence has been used systematically as a weapon of war. Women and children are the most vulnerable. Health services play a key role in the prevention of sexual violence and in treating and helping victims,” Mr Holmås commented.
Non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, respiratory diseases and diabetes also pose a major public health threat. Three of five deaths worldwide are caused by such diseases. An unhealthy diet, smoking and tobacco use, alcohol and a lack of exercise are all important contributing factors.