Speech at opening at NUNA MED 2016

Speech by Minister for Health, Doris Jakobsen
Opening at NUNA MED 2016, 1st of October 2016, 9 am Katuaq, Nuuk

Dear participants,

As Minister for Health it is a privilege for me to have the honour to welcome you to NUNA MED 2016.

NUNA MED is taking place for the ninth time. I think it is impressive, that it has been possible to host such a big event through so many years with so many participants. This shows that there is a great interest in in health research in Greenland.
Many of you have travelled far to be here today. I wish you a warm welcome to Greenland and welcome to Nuuk.
On the way from the airport you passed our campus, Ilimmarfik. Maybe you noticed the construction site? The new building, which will be completed in 2017, will house Greenland's first natural science education and the Greenland Institute of Health Research
I am very pleased that our youth will now have the opportunity to take a natural science degree at an international level based here in Greenland. I am also pleased that the Greenland Institute of Health Research, after all these years, gets a building of its own.

Over the years many scientists have visited us, and done research - not only in the field of health research. Some of the researchers leave Greenland with their important knowledge, and we are left with the feeling that we do not really benefit from their research.

I am confident that the new building which will be completed in 2017 will be of great benefit to Greenland, and that – in the future - we will have easier access to the health knowledge, we crave.
Here I would like to mention the need for further research and information about the diet in Northern Greenland. In which ways have the environmental contamination in the Thule area affected diet and daily life in Qaanaaq?

I am pleased that the theme “environment” has a prominent place in the program at this NUNA MED conference. It is my sincere hope that there will be researched on this important issue from the new Institute for Health - and that the people of Greenland will be informed about the results of this research.

I am convinced that the new center will strengthen both cooperation and development within health research in Greenland. Bearing in mind that cooperation and development is the title of this NUNA MED conference.

Education is an excellent means of promoting both cooperation and development. As a prelude to NUNA MED, there has been a Ph.D. summer school involving both Greenlandic and foreign students.

I am pleased that future researchers in the days leading up to NUNA MED among other things have worked with ethics and research in small populations. We are a small population – no more than 56,000 people. It is really important that research takes account of this fact, in order to avoid research fatigue in the population.

My colleague Nivi Olsen, who is Minister of Education, Culture, Research and Church, should also have been here today. Unfortunately she could not attend, but she has asked me to convey this greeting to you:

"Dear participants at NUNA MED, I wish you a good conference. If you look at health research generally in Greenland and in the Arctic, research in the consequences of climate change, and research into the mind and body is crucial for obtaining resilience in the population.

Everything has its beginning. It is important that children learn how to lead healthy lives from an early age. It is important for me that our children are active, and that physical exercise is a natural part of the curriculum at day-care centers and schools. "Unquote.

I can only agree with Nivi's words. The Government is committed to secure all citizens of Greenland the best opportunities to have a good and long life. Our public health program has a special focus on children and their families, because it is so important to establish healthy habits early on in life.

Your research is valuable to us. It tells us if we are on the right track in terms of achieving our goals. Both in terms of public health, but also in relation to the disease pattern in general and our health care system. It is very important to us that prevention and health promotion initiatives are based on evidence based research.

In the following days an impressive and comprehensive program awaits us. Personally, I am looking forward to learning more about the research based in Greenland, and to hear news about health in other parts of the Arctic.

To conclude, I would like to thank the organizers for the great work you've put into this conference. We are looking forward to enjoy the results of all your efforts.

I would also like to thank all of you presenters, who come here to share your knowledge with us.

Finally, I wish to thank all of you, who have come to attend the conference. I hope that the knowledge you take with you from here, will be of great use in your daily work with patients and citizens.

Let us strive to ensure that the research presented to us in the coming days, will come in to use in society.

Let us strive to achieve development.

With these words I want to thank you for your attention. I wish you all a great NUNA MED conference.

Thank you.