An Icelandic proposal that the Nordic countries should organise a joint project to search for an effective remedy/cure for spinal cord injuries has been approved by the Nordic Council, meeting this week in Copenhagen.
Icelandic politician Siv Friedleifsdottir put the motion forward in her capacity as chairman of the Nordic Council Welfare Committee. The motion was passed unanimously.
The idea to call upon the Nordic Council for support came from Audur Gudjonsdottir, an O.R. nurse and founder of the Icelandic Institute of Spinal Cord Injury. Siv Friedleifsdottir and the Icelandic delegation to the Nordic Council have been involved from an early stage in promoting the idea on the Nordic stage; and the idea has even garnered direct support from Icelandic Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir and her entire government. Before this week’s vote Friedleifsdottir handed a petition, signed by 8,500 Icelandic women calling for Nordic co-operation in curing spinal cord injuries, over to President of the Nordic Council, Bertel Haarder.
The Council vote means that a pan-Nordic working group of doctors and scientists will now be set up to investigate current Nordic and international research into, and treatment of, spinal cord injuries and to then make recommendations for improvement. The goal of the working group will be to gather current world knowledge and expertise in the field and investigate ways of de-fragmenting the knowledge into a more holistic approach to spinal cord injury, which is so far lacking.
Audur Gudjonsdottir, whose daughter suffers from a spinal cord injury, said after the Nordic Council vote that if all goes according to plan, the Nordic nations will do humankind a great favour by pushing for the unification of knowledge in the field which will benefit not only those suffering from painful and debilitating spinal cord injuries, but also all nervous system research. Gudjonsdottir said she is very proud that Icelanders (and Icelandic women in particular) have taken a leading role in giving spinal cord injury sufferers a voice on the international stage. To speak out on behalf of sometimes-overlooked groups is precisely the international role small nations should be taking, she believes.