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NCD Alliance launches new civil society solidarity fund in response to COVID-19

Updated: Jul 14, 2020

Tuesday 14 July 2020 (Phnom Penh, Cambodia) – the Cambodian NCD Alliance (CNCDA) is one of 20 civil society alliances from around the world which has been awarded a grant to accelerate the response to the coronavirus pandemic. The new fund is called The Civil Society Solidarity Fund on Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs) and COVID-19. It was announced yesterday (13 July) at a high-level online event.

The fund will support alliances 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.

NCDs, also known as chronic diseases, are the leading cause of death in Cambodia. Two out of three deaths are caused by NCDs and one quarter of these deaths happen before the age of 70. The main types of NCDs include cardiovascular diseases (heart disease and stroke), cancers, respiratory diseases, diabetes, and mental and neurological conditions. NCDs occur as the result of a combination of genetic, physiological, environmental and behavioural factors.

Todd Harper, President of the NCD Alliance (Global), said: “The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic shows many intersections between COVID-19 and NCDs. People living with NCDs are more vulnerable to COVID-19, with a substantially higher risk of becoming severely ill or dying from the virus. The pandemic is also impacting the poorest communities around the world and the most vulnerable people in every country. The Civil Society Solidarity Fund was born out of the need to tackle NCDs as fundamental to health security and to prevent a reversal of gains made in NCD prevention and control around the world”.

The $300,000 fund will competitively award grants of up to US$15,000 to national and regional NCD alliances across Africa, Asia, Europe, Eastern Mediterranean and Latin America. Activities in Cambodia will focus on ways to push NCDs up the national agenda using communications and connecting with influential individuals in the country. The aim is to embed NCDs in the national COVID-19 response.

Dr. Kol Hero, Director of the Preventive Medicine Department at the Cambodian Ministry of Health and CNCDA Steering Committee member, said: “This grant provides a significant opportunity to highlight the specific vulnerabilities faced by people living with NCDs during this pandemic and promote the inclusion of NCDs in public health preparedness and health system strengthening”.

H.E. Dr. Tia Phalla, Vice Chair National AIDS Authority and CNCDA Steering Committee member, said: “With this grant we can begin to address the historic under investment in noncommunicable diseases, and put them firmly on the national agenda, through the important work of CNCDA and stakeholders".

In Cambodia, reports suggest that both the disruption to vital health services caused by COVID-19, as well as the economic shock of the pandemic, are exacerbating issues for people living with NCDs. Given that people living with NCDs are more vulnerable to COVID-19, it is crucial that civil society can elevate the voices of communities and people living with NCDs, advocate for health policy reform and hold governments and other stakeholders to account.

Katie Dain, CEO of NCD Alliance (Global), said: “This is a first-of-its-kind fund to support NCD civil society organisations (CSOs) respond to COVID-19. During pandemics, momentum in several health and sustainable development issues, notably HIV/AIDS, 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 society are proven campaigners, change agents, experts, implementers, and watchdogs”.

The NCD Alliance Civil Society Solidarity Fund on NCDs and COVID-19 has been made possible thanks to generous financial contributions of NCD Alliance’s supporters: The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, Access Accelerated, Takeda, AstraZeneca and Upjohn (Pfizer). 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. The recipients of the Civil Society Solidarity Fund are:

· ACT Promoção da Saúde (ACT Health Promotion - Brazil)

· Alianza ENT Uruguay (NCD Alliance Uruguay)

· Alliance MNT Benin

· Bangladesh Non-Communicable Diseases Forum

· Burundi NCD Alliance

· Cambodian NCD Alliance

· Cameroon Civil Society NCD Alliance

· Coalition MNT-Togo

· East Africa NCD Alliance

· Healthy Caribbean Coalition

· Healthy Latin American Coalition

· Healthy Philippines Alliance

· Jordan NCD Alliance

· NCD Alliance Nigeria

· Slovenian NCD Alliance

· South African NCDs Alliance

· South East Asia Regional NCD Alliance

· Trinidad and Tobago NCD Alliance

· UK Working Group on NCDs

· Zambia Non-Communicable Alliance

Further information:

Charlotte Aberdein

Cambodian NCD Alliance Coordinator

Mob: 010 723 412

About NCD Alliance (Global)

The NCD Alliance is a unique civil society network of 2,000 organisations in 170 countries, dedicated to improving NCD prevention and control worldwide. Our network includes NCDA members, national and regional NCD alliances, scientific and professional associations, and academic and research institutions. Together with strategic partners, including WHO, the UN and governments, NCDA is transforming the global fight against NCDs.

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