Lisbeth Normann, Secretary to the minister of Health and Care Services, officially opened NIOM’s 45th anniversary seminar. Her speech centred on the establishment of NIOM in 1972, the changing dental health situation since then and the role of dental health in Nordic and European perspective in the time to come.
Ms. Normann stated in the beginning of her speech that the establishment of NIOM in 1972 was both visionary and pioneering on an international level as well as an excellent example of the unique strength of Nordic cooperation. The dental health situation in the Nordic countries was challenging; here was a high demand for restorative work in all age groups, and need to ensure that dental materials were safe and appropriate for use.
In 2017, Norway holds the presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers. The focus of the presidency is to strengthen the ability of the Nordic countries to adapt to changes in our region, in Europe and in the world. The so called green shift; the transition towards becoming low- emission societies, is given high priority. In terms of dental health, the Secretary argued, it should perhaps be called the white shift because of the transition from amalgam to white fillings. This white shift, she argued, is of great importance for NIOM’s activities. Research and participation in international standardisation work are essential to maintain optimum safety for the Nordic patients. Generating knowledge on what is the best material for specific treatment situations and spreading this knowledge to all areas of dental health are important tasks for NIOM. She encouraged NIOM, the different centres of expertise and universities to cooperate on the specific challenges regarding dental health assistance for senior citizens.
Secretary Normann addressed the responsibility Norway had demonstrated in taking over the ownership of NIOM seven years ago. NIOM’s move to new, spacious and well equipped facilities, centrally located near Oslo University campus and to Oslo University hospital, has been funded by the Ministry of Health and Care Services. The NIOM budget from the Ministry has doubled during the last five years. New research positions have been created and NIOM’s possibilities to fulfil its obligations have been strengthened.
“Happy anniversary, and thanks to our ownership, there will be many more”, was Secretary Normann’s closing salute.