No fewer than 20 civil society alliances from across the world will be awarded grants to accelerate the response to the coronavirus pandemic through the first Civil Society Solidarity Fund.
This was contained in a statement issued by Jimena Donaher, the Communications Director of NCD Alliance, and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria on Monday in Ibadan.
The statement said that the fund, launched on Monday during an online event, was aimed at accelerating response to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and COVID-19.
NAN reports that the beneficiaries were drawn from Africa, Asia, Europe, Eastern Mediterranean and Latin America.
The NCD President, Todd Harper, said that the COVID-19 pandemic had shown many intersections between the virus and NCDs, saying people living with NCDs were at higher risk of contracting coronavirus.
“The pandemic is also impacting negatively on the poorest communities around the world and the most vulnerable people in every country.
“The civil society solidarity fund was borne out of the need to tackle NCDs as fundamental to health security and prevent a reversal of the gains made in NCD prevention and control around the world,” he said.
Harper said that the fund, totalling US$300,000, would competitively award grants of up to US$15,000 to national and regional NCD alliances.
“The purpose is to support them in addressing the critical needs of people living with NCDs during COVID-19 via advocacy and communication activities that will support stronger organisational stability and resilience.
“Activities will include advocacy and communication efforts for the continuity of essential NCD health services and inclusion of NCDs in national COVID-19 response recovery plans.
“Also included is community-led awareness-raising campaigns on the linkages between NCDs and COVID-19,” Harper said.
Also speaking, the Chief Executive Officer, NCD Alliance, Katie Dain, said it was the first-of-its-kind fund to support civil society organisations (CSOs) to respond to COVID-19.
“During pandemics, momentum in several health and sustainable development issues, notably , Ebola and climate change, have repeatedly reinforced the critical role of CSOs and community-led efforts in accelerating action from local to global levels.
“Civil societies are proven campaigners, change agents, experts, implementers and watchdogs,” he said.
According to him, it is important to ensure a vibrant and strong NCD civil society that could elevate the voices of communities as well as people living with NCDs, given the vulnerability level of people living with NCDs to COVID-19.
Dain stressed the need to advocate for health policy reform and hold governments and other stakeholders accountable.
The statement said that the global NCD civil society movement had witnessed very significant growth over the last decade, adding COVID-19 affected its sustainability and stalled the advocacy efforts already on ground.
The statement said that the fund was made possible through generous financial contributions of NCD Alliance’s supporters, such as The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, Access Accelerated, Takeda, AstraZeneca and Upjohn (Pfizer).
It said that the fund received 45 submissions from national and regional alliances across all regions, which were reviewed by a selection committee.
“The fund recognises the essential work of NCD advocates, which now becomes even more critical than ever, to ensure political and media attention to the needs of people living with NCDs as one of the most vulnerable groups to COVID-19.
NAN reports that the recipients of the funds included: NCD Alliance Nigeria, ACT Promoção da Saúde (ACT Health Promotion – Brazil), Alianza ENT Uruguay (NCD Alliance Uruguay), Alliance MNT Benin, Bangladesh Non-Communicable Diseases Forum and Burundi NCD Alliance.
Others were Cambodian NCD Alliance, Cameroon Civil Society NCD Alliance, Coalition MNT-Togo, East Africa NCD Alliance, Healthy Caribbean Coalition and Healthy Latin American Coalition and Zambia Non-Communicable Alliance.
Healthy Philippines Alliance, Jordan NCD Alliance, Slovenian NCD Alliance, South African NCDs Alliance, South East Asia Regional NCD Alliance, Trinidad and Tobago NCD Alliance and UK Working Group on NCDs also benefitted from the fund.
Edited by ‘Wale Sadeeq
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