Towards a healthier world

Karolinska Institutet has a long tradition of engagement in global public health and has established institutional partnerships with several universities in Africa and Asia.

Global health is a question of health and survival for us all. Back when it was referred to as “tropical medicine”, it centred on problems mainly facing poor countries. Now, the growing emphasis is on cross-border health issues and on health as a human right.

Our most successful research spans areas such as infections (e.g. malaria, HIV, tuberculosis and pneumonia), maternal and child health as well as sexual and reproductive health. We are also involved in the development of health systems in Sweden and around the world.

For example, researchers at Karolinska Institutet have shown how malaria can be combated and exterminated using a combination of measures, such as medication, mosquito nets and local engagement.

Thanks to the efforts of every single resident of a small Pacific island, their home is now completely malaria-free. The same methods are currently being developed in Kenya and Tanzania. As part of our collaboration with Uganda, we have been able to show how neonate deaths can be reduced with a care package that links families, local health workers and rural clinics.

The skills and dedication of our researchers working with cross-border health issues proved their mettle when Karolinska Institutet in August 2014, at the request of Swedish authorities and the WHO, took on board the task of training medical staff in preparation for assisting in the West African Ebola crisis.

Karolinska Institutet offers a publicly accessible massive open online course (MOOC) in global health, further strengthening our profile and credentials as a global university. 



Global health concerns all of the health challenges facing the world’s population and ties together such diverse disciplines as public health, medicine, epidemiology, health economics, environmental medicine, behavioural science and anthropology.

The field traditionally comprised the study of infectious diseases, maternal and child health and disaster prevention in low-income countries. Today, it also includes everything from risk and health factors for transversal diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, to how to achieve better health equality for everyone on the planet.