The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has appointed John-Arne Røttingen as Norway’s global health ambassador from December 1, 2020. This position will consist of following up the global health efforts and Norwegian participation in international cooperation to combat COVID-19. He will work closely with both the Minister of Development and the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Røttingen comes from the position of CEO at the Research Council of Norway as a doctor and epidemiologist. He was central in the work to combat the Ebola outbreak in West Africa where he led the study in which a new Ebola vaccine was tested in Guinea. Most recently, he has been featured in the news in connection with leading the global steering group for a worldwide study of treatment methods and vaccines against COVID-19.
An important part of the work of Norway's new global health ambassador will be to use their extensive network to try to put in place fair distribution mechanisms so that the poorest countries do not fall far behind in the vaccine queue. The pandemic is a global problem that hits vulnerable groups particularly hard. Therefore, the solution must also be global and reach everyone. Through the government’s strong commitment to establishing and supporting the vaccine coalition CEPI, and through its contribution to the vaccine alliance Gavi, Norway has positioned itself as a key driver for fair global access to vaccines.