Minister of International Development Dag Inge Ulstein announced that Norway, from 2020 to 2024, will contribute an additional US$133 million to reduce the burden of non-communicable diseases in low-income countries.
The government is following its 'Better Health, Better Lives' strategy, announced by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2019. Ulstein emphasized that this funding is important in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, as the risk of getting seriously ill from the virus increases when one has underlying conditions.
There is an overall need to strengthen health systems in low-income countries. Non-communicable diseases receive only 1-2% of overall global health-related development assistance funding. This increases the funding gap for the most vulnerable. According to the Norwegian government's press release, Norway is the first donor country with a strategy focusing on non-communicable diseases in low-income countries.