In 1997, Norway’s Directorate for Health and Social Affairs appointed a Committee to conduct a study of the various aspects of CAM. The committee was named the “Aarbakke Committee” after Professor Jarle Aarbakke, who chaired the committee. Their work was submitted as Norwegian Official Report; NOU 1998:21. One of its recommendations was to establish a national research centre for unbiased, independent research into CAM.
NAFKAM, Norway's National Research Center in Complementary and Alternative Medicine, then opened in 2000. Today, we are located at the Faculty of Health Sciences, at UiT The Arctic University of Norway
Another recommendation from the Aarbakke committee was to establish an open-access, internet-based, national information bank, in which knowledge about CAM could be gathered and made available to the general public. Its purpose should be to provide science-based yet unbiased information to the lay public, thereby helping them make better informed choices for their own health and supporting patient safety.
A third recommendation from the Aarbakke committe was a modernization of the CAM field's regulation from 1936. In June 2003, a new act about CAM was adopted, and on Jan 1, 2004 the law came into force.
Following further up on the Official Report from the Aarbakke committee, the Norwegian Ministry of Health and Care Services gave NAFKAM the task to establish such an information bank as described above. The bank was named "Nasjonalt Informasjonssenter for Alternativ Behandling" (National Information Centre about Complementary and Alternative Medicine), with the acronym "NIFAB".
In May 2007, NAFKAM launched the web site nifab.no (today replaced by nafkam.no). In its first full-year in 2008, the nifab website had some 35,000 visitors.
In 2011, the website was considered one of the top websites in an evaluation of 46 Norwegian health web sites, carried out by the Norwegian Electronic Health Library (Helsebiblioteket.no) and Innlandet Hospital Trust.
In 2012, the Norwegian Directorate of Health gave NAFKAM the task of monitoring the Norwegian health market for "any new trends within CAM and self-care, which may threaten patient safety", and report any such to the health authorities. The monitoring were then delegated to the Editorial Staff at nifab.no.
In 2013, The nifab website met the Health on the Net (HON) Foundation's criteria for quality in health information on the internet. The HON Code certificate serves as a guarantee that nifab.no complies with and pledges to honor the principles of the HON Code of Conduct.
In 2014, NAFKAM was subject to an external evaluation of both its research and public information activities, as well as the centre's neutrality towards CAM. The main conclusions were that NAFKAM has a recognized international standing with research of good methodological quality, and good handling of being neutral and unbiased towards CAM. Nafkam.no was recognized as having developed a good and informative portal, though its awareness and knowledge among the population was considered to have higher potential. The evaluation was ordered by the Norwegian Directorate of Health, and carried out by The Oxford Group (Norway).
In 2015, the amount of visitors to the web site had grown almost 10x, compared to 2008.
Today, tNAFKAM's information department is responsible for expanding and revising the nafkam.no e; handling requests about CAM and NAFKAM from patients, health professionals and the media; as well as NAFKAMs presence and activities in social media.
Organisational affiliation and funding
Nafkam.no's Editorial Staff constitutes a department within NAFKAM. NAFKAM in turn, is located at the Department of Community Medicine, at the Faculty of Health Sciences, UiT The Arctic University of Norway .
NAFKAM is funded directly by the Norwegian Directory of Health. Nafkam.no is not financially supported by the CAM industry in any way. The web site does not host, contain or offer any form of advertisement.