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In the directive of 20 December 1803, physicians were instructed to report “everything that pertains to the public health services” to the central authorities in Copenhagen. The first issues of the reports from Norwegian physicians are available as hand-written reports in the National Archives of Norway, in Oslo. Transcriptions of these medical reports are presented in this report.

Right up to the present day, the annual reports from the counties represent an important source of information for the Norwegian Board of Health. These reports provide an opportunity for the county medical officers, as leaders of the Norwegian Board of Health in the counties, to place conditions relating to the health situation and health services in a wider framework, in relation to public administration and society in general.

The Norwegian Board of Health publishes this collection on the occasion of the 200 years’ anniversary of the establishment of this tradition. It is hoped that the collection will provide inspiration for further development of this tool. Hans Petter Schjønsby, former county medical officer, now retired, has carried out the work of transcribing this comprehensive material, so that it is now available to a wider circle of readers.