The UK Working Group on NCDs (UKWG) is delighted to have been awarded a grant by the NCD Alliance for work over the latter half of this year to place NCDs/health-systems strengthening at the heart of future development assistance for health, with a focus on the UK government. This is the second phase of the Civil Society Solidarity Fund on Non-Communicable Diseases and COVID-19 to accelerate the response to the pandemic, and the UKWG is particularly grateful for having been awarded grants in both phases.
Activities will include the publication of a research report on NCDs, COVID-19 and UK aid, building a network of people with lived experience of NCDs in the UK who are interested in the global response, and holding a virtual launch event for the report to engage UK policymakers. We will recruit a project manager and consultants with lived experience of NCDs to lead the work, in collaboration with members of the UKWG.
Anne Lise Ryel, president of the NCD Alliance, said: ‘The COVID-19 pandemic has placed many challenges on NCD civil society, including financial sustainability. It is key to support alliances to ensure a vibrant and strong NCD civil society that can elevate the voices of communities and people living with NCDs and enable them to mobilise resources, advocate for political action and health policy reform, and hold governments and other stakeholders to account. The 2021 Solidarity Fund aims to do this.’
Katy Cooper, chair of the UK Working Group on NCDs, said: ‘This is an exciting opportunity for us to look at the financing of NCDs as part of UK aid, in the context of the COVID-19 response. We are keen to understand the potential impact of this response on people living with NCDs, particularly as a result of the recent changes in UK development funding. We are delighted that the voices of people with lived experience of NCDs are absolutely central to the delivery of this grant.’
Katie Dain, CEO of NCD Alliance, said: ‘Building upon its successes and due to the continuation of COVID-19, we are now launching a second phase of this Solidarity Fund to make the case for prioritising and investing in NCDs within the context of an equitable COVID-19 response and recovery, advocating for the needs of people living with NCDs, with the aim of advancing towards Universal Health Coverage, and NCD prevention and control.‘
People living with NCDs have been at the epicentre of the pandemic since it began, due to their heightened vulnerability to severe symptoms or death from COVID-19 and to the health system disruptions experienced in almost all countries around the world. The already urgent need for NCD action and investment – and for advocacy and pressure by NCD civil society – has never been greater.
The 2021 Solidarity Fund 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, AstraZeneca, ECOBANK Foundation and Viatris.