Public Health

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Health can have a drastic impact on people's quality life. Prevention and promoting healthy lifestyles can help people have a better life and reduce the consequences of health emergencies and diseases.  

The Challenge

The widening health gap, chronic diseases and an ageing population are some of the major health challenges in Europe. Promoting physical and mental health, and improving access to quality and sustainable health care is are fundamental to reduce major health threats.

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Demographic challenge

By 2050, almost 40% of Europeans will be over 60, compared to 17% in 2000. Chronic diseases are closely linked with age, making health promotion and disease prevention essential to attain an active and healthy ageing.

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Gaps in quality healthcare provision

A fragile economic recovery has limited the availability of resources in healthcare. The development of innovative and sustainable health systems remains a challenge in countries where investment in health is modest.

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Unequal access to health

Poverty creates unequal access to health care among Europeans. The economic crisis and cuts in public health have led to inequalities. Consequently, vulnerable groups such as Roma are more likely to face difficulties accessing health services.

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Mental health

Mental health is often stigmatised, leading to an inability to fully enjoy  various aspects of life, such as family, work and social life. Providing access to quality health services is crucial to counter this and support the well-being of our societies.

Our Approach

Our goal

We seek to improve prevention and reduce inequalities in health.


Achieving a more resilient, accessible inclusive and effective health care systems requires shared efforts and a comprehensive approach. The EEA and Norway Grants support to public health aligns with EU priorities, which define the strategy to ensure good and quality healthcare for all. In order to improve population health in a sustainable manner, we support activities such as:

  • Prevention and control of non-communicable diseases
  • Strengthening systems for primary health care services
  • Universal access to health care as a basis to reduce social inequalities
  • Mental health and a healthy and active ageing

Download the overview of our support to Public Health to see the full list of suggested activities.

Creating partnerships

Both donor and beneficiary countries benefit by sharing experience and best practice to meet common European health challenges. The Norwegian Institute of Public Health and the Norwegian Directorate of Health are Donor Programme Partners in this area and can assist organisations that wish to get involved. 

As a partnership example that builds on past cooperation, the Oncology Institute Cluj-Napoca in Romania and the University Hospital Oslo/Cancer Registry of Norway will further develop cooperation in the future with a project that aims at strengthening the capacity of the Romanian health sector to implement cost efficient cancer screening.

Health and social issues are entwined and require a horizontal approach. This is why, in addition to targeted programmes, health is also a focus in other supported areas such as local development and poverty reduction, research, education or children and youth at risk.