The Nordic Region as a Global Health Experimentarium

06.12.2007
NordForsk organised the seminar “The Nordic region as a global health experimentarium” in Oulu, Finland on 29 November. There was strong agreement among participants that increased Nordic cooperation in the field of health research and innovation could be highly beneficial for the region as a whole.
The seminar showed that Norden has a strong position in health research, innovation and societal use, with the Nordic population distinguishing itself by its openness to innovations and ability to use new technology. In addition, the Nordic region also has extraordinarily rich databases on its populations and a regional strength in the ICT field. The linking of these various positions of strength gives the Nordic region unique possibilities and the potential to develop into a global “health experimentarium.”

In a rapidly aging world, this could give the region a strong competitive edge. In the industrialised world today there are approximately 30 pensioners per 100 workers. In 2040, this number will rise to 70. This change in demography will lead to a dramatic change in consumption patterns, resulting in a strong increase in the demand for health services. The health sector is already responsible for 9% of GDP in Europe, and its share increases by 6 % p.a.

In addition to addressing the defensive aspect of handling the immediate health challenges facing the region, Nordic cooperation could serve to identify how the region could position itself as an exporter of best practice. Participants agreed that by branding Norden as a region that master the challenges that other countries will face as welfare states, numerous opportunities can open up.
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