Thursday, June 14, 2018

Norwegian envoy calls for global unity against outbreaks

Norwegian Ambassador to Tanzania Hanne Marie

Norwegian Ambassador to Tanzania Hanne Marie Kaarstad 

By George Sembony The Citizen Reporter

Tanga. Norwegian Ambassador to Tanzania Hanne Marie Kaarstad has said emerging infectious diseases like Ebola highlight the need for global cooperation to tackle and limit outbreaks that put additional pressure on health care services.

The Ambassador, who was speaking at the opening of a three-day first International Conference of the Tanga International Competence Center (TICC) said it was disappointing that although great progress had been made in Tanzania, and in global health, since the launching of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2000 and the Sustainable Development  Goals (2015 - 2030), millions of people all over the world still struggled with poverty-related health problems.

"This matter also concerns Tanzania, which faces challenges in relation to maternal and child mortality, infectious diseases, as well as access to water and sanitation facilities," she said, adding that tackling these aspects would significantly improve Tanzania's ranking in the human development index.

Ms Kaarstad said the world increasingly faced new public health challenges such as chronic diseases associated with smoking, alcohol, obesity and pollution, which were traditionally classified as 'western' problems but are now on the increase in low and middle income countries such as Tanzania, causing a double burden.

She suggested looking beyond healthcare systems.

Meanwhile, Norway invested a total of Norwegian Kronors (NOK) 53 billion in global health institutions between 2000 and 2016.

The Norwegian Ambassador pointed out that during that period Norwegian health aid quadrupled from NOK 1.2 billion in 2000 to NOK 4.7 in 2016 with most of the country’s health aid channeled through multilateral organisations and global funds (more than NOK 6 billion in the period 2014 - 2016) approximately 80 per cent in 2016.

"That does not mean these funds do not reach Tanzania. In fact, the Norwegian health contribution through global mechanisms to Tanzania is very significant," she pointed out,  adding that approximately NOK 500 million from global funds reached Tanzania between 2014 and 2016.