Norwegian Institute of Public Health

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Norwegian Institute of Public Health
Nasjonalt folkehelseinstitutt
Agency overview
Formed 1929[1]
Preceding Agency Board of Health Laboratory (1916-1929)[2]
Headquarters Oslo, Norway
Employees 860 (2007)[3]
Annual budget NOK 800 million (2007)[4]
Agency executive Camilla Stoltenbeg[5], Director-General
Parent agency Ministry of Health and Care Services
Website www.fhi.no

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH, Norwegian: Nasjonalt folkehelseinstitutt (official), Folkehelseinstituttet (simplified)) is a subordinate institution to the Ministry of Health and Care Services. The NIPH acts as a national competence institution for governmental authorities, the health service, the judiciary, prosecuting authorities, politicians, the media and the general public.

The institute consists of an administrative division and five scientific divisions: Infectious Disease Control, Environmental Medicine, Epidemiology, Mental Health and Forensic Toxicology and Drug Abuse Research.

Main objectives: Health surveillance to give a good overview of the population’s health; research to give the best knowledge about what affects public health; and prevention i.e. good preparedness, advice and services of high quality

Current and new areas: Preparedness (communicable diseases and environmental medicine), mental health, drug research, health, population studies, laboratory-based research and surveillance.

The NIPH’s activities adapt to diseases in the population and challenges in health care and society. Consequently, the NIPH will give special attention to the following areas; diseases of ageing, lifestyle and health, social inequalities in health, health surveillance and registries, as well as global health challenges.

The fight against infectious diseases[edit]

The predecessor to today’s institute, Statens institutt for folkehelse (SIFF), was founded in 1929 following a donation of 1 million Norwegian kroner from the Rockefeller Foundation. However, the idea of a public institute to address population health issues was born fifty years before and the notion of governmental responsibility for public preventive measures even earlier.

Initially, SIFF was responsible for providing vaccines and sera to the population and performing chemical analyses of water and food. Some years later, SIFF implemented immunisation programmes, but for several decades the scope of the institute was restricted to infectious disease control.

In the 1970s, SIFF established toxicology and epidemiology departments, focusing increasingly on prevention of non-contagious diseases as well as traditional infectious disease control. Health services research was incorporated in the 1980s.

Reorganisation and expansion[edit]

In 2002 and 2003, SIFF merged with several other institutions and units to form a new, comprehensive public health institute. The new institute was given responsibility for all health-related population registries, except the Cancer Registry of Norway. It would coordinate all public collection of epidemiological data in the country, as well as conduct forensic toxicology and drug abuse research.

The Norwegian name changed from “Statens institutt for folkehelse” to “Nasjonalt folkehelseinstitutt” but the English name, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, remained the same. The new role as national co-ordinator in several fields emphasised the importance of co-operation with universities, hospitals and other research institutes and a series of national collaborating groups were formed.

In 2005 and 2006, the institute expanded its scope even further, targeting social inequalities in health and establishing a division for mental health. The NIPH also took on responsibility for the prevention of injury and disease caused by behavioural factors such as smoking, abuse of alcohol and illicit drugs, physical inactivity, obesity and unprotected sex with unknown partners.

Size[edit]

In 1929, the NIPH had 18 employees, increasing to over 900 in 2010. The annual budget increased from 107,000 to 1 billion Norwegian kroner in the same period. Even taking currency value increases into account, the 1929 budget was extremely low and most of the employees were volunteers. The considerable budget growth from 1929 to 2007 may be seen as a manifestation of the enormous changes in the national economy during this period. It may also reflect attitude changes and increasing awareness of effective preventive measures in relation to public health.

Current organisation[edit]

The NIPH is organised with an administrative division and five scientific divisions. Camilla Stoltenberg is the Director-General of the institute. She is also the NIPH's contact with the political leadership in the Ministry of Health and Care Services.

The NIPH's senior management team also includes (as of August 2012):

  • Jan Alexander, Deputy Director-General
  • Arne Holte, Deputy Director-General
  • Toril Attramadal, Division Director of Environmental Medicine
  • Per Magnus, Division Director of Epidemiology
  • Ellinor Major, Division Director Mental Health
  • Bjørn Magne Eggen, Division Director Forensic Toxicology and Drug Abuse Research
  • Hanne Nøkleby, Division Director Infectious Disease Control
  • Unni Aagedal, Division Director Public Relations and Institute Resources
  • Gunhild Wøien, Director of Communications
  • Anne Bergh, International Director

Division of Epidemiology[edit]

The Division of Epidemiology performs health research and surveillance and acts in an advisory capacity for health authorities, the government, the media and the general public. Research interests cover diverse topics such as autism, perinatal outcome, chronic diseases, medicine use and social inequalities. A substantial amount of health data and biological samples have been collated as a result of various health studies which are actively used for research within the institute and internationally in collaboration projects. Many research articles have been published by researchers in international, peer-reviewed journals.[6]

Division of Mental Health[edit]

The Division of Mental Health monitors the mental health of the population. The division also offers research-based advice to the government, health authorities, health professionals and the municipalities. Key research areas involve influential risk and protective factors in psychological distress and mental disorders, with anxiety and depression amongst the prioritised research areas.[7]

Division of Environmental Medicine[edit]

The Division of Environmental Medicine assesses the health risks related to exposure to environmental toxicants and is a competence centre for environment and health with a high international level on its research and services. Special analyses of harmful contaminants in humans and the environment are performed. The division gives advice nationally and internationally within the fields of water hygiene, nutrients and other components in food and drinking water, chemicals in consumer products, environmental conditions and allergy, outdoor and indoor air pollution, and noise.[8]

Division of Forensic Toxicology and Drug Abuse Research[edit]

The Division of Forensic Toxicology and Drug Abuse Research has national responsibility for securing evidence, analysis and interpretation of intoxicants, medicines and toxic agents in samples from individuals in cases where the results may have judicial consequences. The division also conducts biomedical research on intoxicants and medicines. Annually, the division receives approximately 40,000 biological samples (blood, urine, etc.) for analysis and interpretation. The division is accredited in clinical pharmacology / forensic toxicology and scientific interpretations and follows internationally recognised standards for forensic toxicology.[9]

Division of Infectious Disease Control[edit]

The Division of Infectious Disease Control conducts surveillance of infectious diseases and infectious agents and provides advice on infectious disease control and prevention of infectious diseases to the authorities, health professionals and the public. Other tasks include microbiological special investigations and vaccine supply. Research in a public health perspective is also one of the main tasks. The Division of Infectious Disease Control also administers the Childhood Immunisation Programme.[10]

Registries[edit]

NIPH is responsible for the following health-related registers:

  • Medical Birth Registry of Norway
  • Norwegian Surveillance System for Communicable Diseases (MSIS)
  • National Immunisation Registry (SYSVAK)
  • Norwegian Cause of Death Register
  • Norwegian Surveillance System for Infections in Hospitals (NOIS)
  • Register for Induced Abortion
  • Norwegian Prescription Database
  • Norwegian Cardiovascular Disease Registry
  • The Tuberculosis Registry
  • Norwegian Surveillance System for Resistance Against Antibiotics in Microbes (NORM)
  • Biobank Registry
  • National Register of Adverse Effects from Cosmetic Products
  • Food Allergy Register
  • Waterworks Registry

See also[edit]

Sources[edit]

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Home page - The History of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health". Norwegian Institute of Public Health. Retrieved 2013-01-06. 
  2. ^ "Home page - The History of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health". Norwegian Institute of Public Health. Retrieved 2013-01-06. 
  3. ^ "Home page - The History of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health". Norwegian Institute of Public Health. Retrieved 2013-01-06. 
  4. ^ "Home page - The History of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health". Norwegian Institute of Public Health. Retrieved 2013-01-06. 
  5. ^ "Home page - Division and Departments". Norwegian Institute of Public Health. Retrieved 2013-01-06. 
  6. ^ Information supplied by Norwegian Institute of Public Health
  7. ^ Information supplied by Norwegian Institute of Public Health
  8. ^ Information supplied by Norwegian Institute of Public Health
  9. ^ Information supplied by Norwegian Institute of Public Health
  10. ^ Information supplied by Norwegian Institute of Public Health