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Global Health and Health Equity (GHE)

Inequity in health is a central concern in the global health agenda. By bringing together methods and perspectives from medicine and health sciences, social sciences and the humanities, the research group examines inequality in health and access to health resources and the processes producing these health disparities.

People, Facial expression, Child, Smile, Community.

Rural health Center, Myanmar

Photo: Espen Bjertness, UiO

The research group for Global Health and Health Equity (GHE) comprise scholars from a range of disciplines, including medicine, public health, medical anthropology, medical history and epidemiology, investigating global health challenges and solutions.

We critically analyse health systems, national- and global health policies and programs, and we address causes and the distributions of diseases at global, regional, national and local levels in order to promote health and health equity worldwide. We are involved in several large global research networks like the Global Burden of Disease, NCD-RisCand AMIS

GHE builds on the Department’s more than 25 years of research experience and research collaboration with conflict- and low income countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East in the fields of epidemiology, social medicine and medical anthropology.


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Research Areas

  • Health systems, including Universal Health Coverage (UHC), Sustainable development goals (SDGs), health systems strengthening, development assistance, and pandemic preparedness
  • Sexual and reproductive health and rights, including trans-health
  • Infectious diseases, including tuberculosis, HIV and key populations
  • Maternal health and quality of care
  • Antimicrobial resistance, including global antibiotic trade
  • One health
  • Non-communicable diseases, including mental health and domestic violence
  • Studies of science and technology, biomedicalization, digitalization, pharmaceutical industry   
  • Health and ecology, including environmental health and climate change
  • Social medicine, including political and social determinants of health
  •  Migration and minority health, including regular- and irregular immigrants


Research Cooperation 



Ongoing research is funded by ERC (programs), NFR (programs), DAM stiftelsen, Norad, National Institute of Health (NIH) US, Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA).

Selected publications

NCD including mental health

  • DeBoer RJ, Ndumbalo J, Meena S, Ngoma MT, Mvungi N, Siu S, Selekwa M, Nyagabona SK, Luhar R, Buckle G, Lin TK, Breithaupt L, Kennell-Heiling S, Mushi B, Philipo GS, Mmbaga EJ, Mwaiselage J, Van Loon K. Development of a theory-driven implementation strategy for cancer management guidelines in sub-Saharan Africa. Implement Sci Commun. 2020 Feb 25;1:24. doi: 10.1186/s43058-020-00007-7. PMID: 32885183; PMCID: PMC7427872.

  • Repositioning of the global epicentre of non-optimal cholesterol. NCD Risk Factor Collaboration (NCD-RisC). Nature. 2020 Jun;582(7810):73-77. doi: 10.1038/s41586-020-2338-1. Epub 2020 Jun 3.PMID: 32494083
  • Rising rural body-mass index is the main driver of the global obesity epidemic in adults. NCD Risk Factor Collaboration (NCD-RisC). Nature. 2019 May;569(7755):260-264. doi: 10.1038/s41586-019-1171-x. Epub 2019 May 8. PMID: 3106872
  • Ahmed SH, Marjerrison N, Kjøllesdal MKR, Stigum H, Htet AS, Bjertness E, Meyer HE, Madar AA. Comparison of Cardiovascular Risk Factors among Somalis Living in Norway and Somaliland. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Jul 3;16(13):2353. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16132353. PMID: 31277276.
  • Aye WT, Lien L, Stigum H, Win HH, Oo T, Bjertness E. The prevalence of mental distress and the association with education: a cross-sectional study of 18-49-year-old citizens of Yangon Region, Myanmar. BMC Public Health. 2020 Jan 22;20(1):94. doi: 10.1186/s12889-020-8209-8.

Maternal-, Sexual and reproductive health and rights

  • Alexander Ishungisa M, Moen K, Leyna G, Makyao N, Ramadhan A, Lange T, Meyrowitsch DW, Mizinduko M, Likindikoki S, Leshabari M, Mmbaga EJ. HIV prevalence among men who have sex with men following the implementation of the HIV preventive guideline in Tanzania: respondent-driven sampling survey. BMJ Open. 2020 Oct 5;10(10):e036460. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2019-036460. PMID: 33020084. 

  • Lise Wessel Larsen, Win Thuzar Aye, Espen Bjertness. Prevalence of Intimate Partner Violence and Association with Wealth in Myanmar. J Fam Viol (2020).
  • Wai MM, Bjertness E, Stigum H, Htay TT, Liabsuetrakul T, Moe Myint AN, Sundby J. Unmet Need for Family Planning among Urban and Rural Married Women in Yangon Region, Myanmar-a Cross-Sectional Study. Int J Environ Res Public He alth. 2019 Oct 4;16(19):3742. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16193742.

Covid-19 and other infectious diseases

  • Boriani E, Aragrande M, Canali M, Balzan MV and Asaduzzaman M (2021) Pragmatic Use of Planetary Health and Nature-Based Solutions for Future Pandemics Using COVID-19 Case Scenario. Front. Public Health 9:620120. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2021.620120
  • Sarker, T., Sarkar, A., Rabbany, M.G. et al. Evaluation of preventive, supportive and awareness building measures among international students in China in response to COVID-19: a structural equation modeling approach. glob health res policy 6, 10 (2021).

  • Watt G, Giacaman R, Zurayk H, Bjertness E, Holmboe-Ottesen G, Ghattas H, et al. COVID-19 vaccines for Palestinians, Lancet, 28 January 2021. DOI:

  • Emanuel, Ezekiel J.; Persad, Govind; Kern, Adam; Buchanan, Allen; Fabre, Cécile; Halliday, Daniel; Heath, Joseph; Herzog, Lisa; Leland, R.J.; Lemango, Ephrem Tekle; Luna, Florencia; McCoy, Matthew S.; Norheim, Ole Frithjof; Ottersen, Trygve; Schaefer, G. Owen; Tan, Kok-Chor; Wellman, Christopher Heath; Wolff, Jonathan & Richardson, Henry S. (2020). An ethical framework for global vaccine allocation. Science.  ISSN 0036-8075.  369(6509), s 1309- 1312 . doi: 10.1126/science.abe2803.

  • Fekadu Abebe (2019) Synergy between Th1 and Th2 responses during Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection: A review of current understanding, International Reviews of Immunology, 38:4, 172-179, DOI: 10.1080/08830185.2019.1632842
  • Asaduzzaman M, Zaman F, Rousham EK. Antibiotic consumption may be linked to exaggeration of COVID-19. Medical Hypotheses 2020 ;Volum 143.
  • Geissler, PW, Prince, RJ. 2020. Layers of epidemy: Present pasts during the first weeks of COVID‐19 in western Kenya. Centaurus. 2020; 62: 248– 256.
  • Gradmann, Christoph. 2019. "Treatment on Trial: Tanzania’s National Tuberculosis Program, the International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, and the Road to DOTS, 1977-1991."  Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences 74:316-343.
  • Prince, Ruth J. 2019. Pandemic Publics: How Epidemics Transform Social and Political Collectives of Health. In "The Anthropology of Epidemics", edited by Kelly, Ann H., Keck, Frédéric & Lynteris, Christos. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, pp 135-153.
  • Sima, Bezawit Temesgen; Belachew, Tefera; Bjune, Gunnar Aksel & Abebe, Fekadu (2019). Traditional healers`role in the detection of active tuberculosis cases in a pastoralist community in Ethiopia: a pilot intervention study. BMC Public Health.  ISSN 1471-2458.  19(1). doi: 10.1186/s12889-019-7074-9

Health governance

  • Gopinathan, U., Watts, N., Lefebvre, A., Cheung, A., Hoffman, S. J., & Røttingen, J. A. (2019). Global governance and the broader determinants of health: A comparative case study of UNDP’s and WTO’s engagement with global health. Global public health, 14(2), 175-189

  • Tauqeer, F., Myhr, K., & Gopinathan, U. (2019). Institutional barriers and enablers to implementing and complying with internationally accepted quality standards in the local pharmaceutical industry of Pakistan: a qualitative study. Health policy and planning, 34(6), 440-449

  • Beaudevin, Claire, Jean-Paul Gaudillière, Christoph Gradmann, Anne Lovel, and Laurent Pordie, eds. 2020. Global health and the new world order: historical and anthropological approaches to a changing regime of governance. Manchester: Manchester University Press. 248 pp, in print
  • Ole Petter Ottersen, Jashodhara Dasgupta, Chantal Blouin, Paulo Buss, Virasakdi Chongsuvivatwong, Julio Frenk, Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, Bience P Gawanas, Rita Giacaman, John Gyapong, Jennifer Leaning, Michael Marmot, Desmond McNeill, Gertrude I Mongella, Nkosana Moyo, Sigrun Møgedal, Ayanda Ntsaluba, Gorik Ooms, Espen Bjertness, Ann Louise Lie, Suerie Moon, Sidsel Roalkvam, Kristin I Sandberg, Inger B Scheel. The political origins of health inequity: prospects for change. The Lancet 2014, Vol. 383, No. 9917, p630–667.
  • Benjamin Clarsen, Magne Nylenna, Søren Toksvig Klitkou, Stein Emil Vollset, Carl Michael Baravelli, Anette Kocbach Bølling, Gunn Marit Aasvang, Gerhard Sulo, Mohsen Naghavi, Maja Pasovic, Muhammad Asaduzzaman, Tone Bjørge, Anne Elise Eggen, Terje Andreas Eikemo, Christian Lycke Ellingsen, Øystein Ariansen Haaland, Alemayehu Hailu, Shoaib Hassan, Simon I Hay, Petur B Juliusson, Adnan Kisa, Sezer Kisa, Johan Månsson, Teferi Mekonnen, Christopher J L Murray, Ole F Norheim, Trygve Ottersen, Dominic Sagoe, Kam Sripada, Andrea Sylvia Winkler, Ann Kristin Skrindo Knudsen. Changes in life expectancy and disease burden in Norway, 1990–2019: an analysis of the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019.The Lancet Public Health, Volume 7, Issue 7, 2022, Pages e593-e605.


Climate changes, health transition

  • Chol RH, Madar A, Slettedal JK, Bjertness KB, Sundby J, Bjertness E. Drivers of health transition in the DPRK. Lancet Planet Health. 2019 Mar;3(3):e118-e119. doi: 10.1016/S2542-5196(19)30013-0.
  • Asaduzzaman, M.; Ara, R.; Afrin, S.; Meiring, J.E.; Saif-Ur-Rahman, K.M. Planetary Health Education and Capacity Building for Healthcare Professionals in a Global Context: Current Opportunities, Gaps and Future Directions. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19, 11786.

Antimicrobial resistance and One Health

  • Human Colonization with Extended-Spectrum Beta-Lactamase-Producing E. coli in Relation to Animal and Environmental Exposures in Bangladesh: An Observational One Health Study. Rousham EK, Asaduzzaman M, Mozmader TIMAU, Amin MB, Rahman M, Hossain MI, Islam MR, Mahmud ZH, Unicomb L, Islam MA. Environ Health Perspect. 2021 Mar;129(3):37001. doi: 10.1289/EHP7670. Epub 2021 Mar 3. PMID: 33656920

  • Amuasi JH, Lucas T, Horton R, Winkler AS. Reconnecting for our future: The Lancet One Health Commission. Lancet. 2020 May 9;395(10235):1469-1471. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(20)31027-8.
  • Islam MA, Islam MR, Khan R, Amin MB, Rahman M, et al. (2022). Prevalence, etiology and antibiotic resistance patterns of community-acquired urinary tract infections in Dhaka, Bangladesh. PLOS ONE 17(9): e0274423.
  • Asaduzzaman M, Rodland EK, Mekonnen Z, et al. Understanding transmission pathways and integrated digital surveillance potential of antimicrobial resistance in Ethiopia in a One Health approach: a mixed-method study protocol. BMJ Open 2022;12:e051022.
  • Muhammad Asaduzzaman, Emily Rousham, Leanne Unicomb, Md. Rayhanul Islam, Mohammed Badrul Amin, Mahdia Rahman, Muhammed Iqbal Hossain, Zahid Hayat Mahmud, Mark Szegner, Paul Wood, Mohammad Aminul Islam. Spatiotemporal distribution of antimicrobial resistant organisms in different water environments in urban and rural settings of Bangladesh. Science of The Total Environment, Volume 831, 2022, 154890.

Development assistance’

  • Dieleman, Joseph L.; Cowling, Krycia; Agyepong, Irene Akua; Alkenbrack, Sarah; Bollyky, Thomas J.; Bump, Jesse B.; Chen, Catherine S.; Grépin, Karen A.; Haakenstad, Annie; Harle, Anton C.; Kates, Jennifer; Lavado, Rouselle F.; Micah, Angela E.; Ottersen, Trygve; Tandon, Ajay; Tsakalos, Golsum; Wu, Junjie; Zhao, Yingxi; Zlavog, Bianca S. & Murray, Christopher J. L. (2019). The G20 and development assistance for health: historical trends and crucial questions to inform a new era. The Lancet.  ISSN 0140-6736.  394(10193), s 173- 183 . doi: 10.1016/ S0140-6736(19)31333-9.


Tags: UHC, Domestic violence (DV), Sustainable Development Goals, Social determinants of health, Political determinants of health, Mental health, Reproductive health, Sexual health, Human rights, Health and conflicts, One health, Antimicrobial resistance, Infectious disease, Non-communicable disease (NCD), Nutrition, Preventive medicine, Medical History, Medical anthropology, Global burden of disease (GBD), Myanmar, Somaliland, Occupied Palestinian Territory (Opt), North Korea, Tanzania, Tibet, Thailand
Published Aug. 28, 2020 11:20 AM - Last modified Oct. 17, 2022 8:47 AM