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Kristin and Jørn meet Norway's crown prince and princess

DHIS2 News: Norway’s Crown Prince and Princess praise the HISP community

The royal couple requested a meeting with Kristin and Jørn Braa to learn more about DHIS2, and were impressed by the program’s impact on global health

18 Jan 2021 News

Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway met with professors Kristin and Jørn Braa of the Health Information Systems Programme (HISP), along with Svein Stølen, President of the University of Oslo (UiO). The prince and princess were already familiar with DHIS2 and requested the meeting to learn more about the work of the HISP project following the Braa siblings’ receipt of the Roux Prize in 2020.

President Stølen started the meeting by giving a short introduction to the two professors and the significance of the HISP program within UiO. He emphasized the importance of Kristin and Jørn’s efforts in developing knowledge and capacity for innovation in a local context, calling it “fantastic work that shows what the university as an institution… can mean when we are at our best. The work around the HISP program has really made a difference for millions of people.”

Next, Kristin and Jørn presented the mission and history of HISP over the past 28 years, starting with the origins of the original DHIS software from a PhD research project on information systems led by Jørn in post-Apartheid South Africa up to the innovative work of the HISP network in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in the present day.

Presentation on HISP history
Jørn presented a history of the HISP project

The prince and princess have a shared interest in public health, and have gotten involved in several national and international projects throughout the years. They followed Kristin and Jørn’s presentation closely, asking several informed questions throughout, and engaging them in discussion about the details of DHIS2 and how Ministries of Health take ownership of their local system and data.

The prince gratulated the two professors for their accomplishments and leadership:

“Congratulations for everything that you have accomplished. It is impressive that you have driven this (project) forward with so much enthusiasm and energy. The lives of many people have been improved because of this work.”
— Haakon Magnus, Crown Prince of Norway

One key point in Kristin and Jørn’s presentation that they returned to again and again was that HISP is a global movement based on collaboration — including financial support from Norway and international partners — and while they are “figureheads” for the HISP program, the entire community deserves the credit for the success of DHIS2. The prince and princess offered their congratulations for this work, and gave their warm greetings to the DHIS2 community.

Read more about the interview (in Norwegian) on the Royal Palace’s website and the online publications of UiO and the Department of Informatics.