The worldwide pandemic of COVID-19 has laid bare the realities and fragilities of health systems worldwide – initially in China and developed countries, but then, tragically, in the lower-income settings that are the primary focus of the UK Working Group on NCDs.
People living with NCDs (such as diabetes) or who have had greater exposure to NCD risk factors (such as air pollution or poor nutrition) are at greater risk of death from COVID-19; all are at risk of strain on mental health, as livelihoods and lives are threatened.
This is not a question of either addressing infectious or non-communicable disease: it must be both. Health systems and primary care must be strengthened worldwide, both during the acute phase of the crisis (however long that lasts) and then over the longer term to provide much greater resilience for people of all ages and backgrounds. This is a vital part of international development, providing a sustainable present and future for all.
The UK Working Group is well placed to enable discussion between its members on immediate reactions to the crisis (such as ways in which members are pivoting programmes to minimise the effects of the pandemic on people living with NCDs and on operational and funding realities) and on longer-term approaches. From March 2020, members have met regularly to share their efforts and resources, and to coordinate a response.
NCD Alliance grants
The UK Working Group is particularly grateful to the NCD Alliance for awarding us grants in both phases of the Civil Society Solidarity Fund on Non-Communicable Diseases and COVID-19, which enabled us in 2020 to take a more strategic approach to our work and culminating in an excellent webinar on ‘Resourcing for health in an era of COVID-19: maximising bang for buck’, delivered in partnership with Action for Global Health and The George Institute.
In 2021, the grant is going towards researching and launching a report on NCDs, COVID-19 and UK development assistance and building a network of people living with NCDs in the UK who are interested in NCDs as a development issue. People with lived experience will be involved at every stage of this initiative.
Various collated resources on COVID-19 and NCDs
- NCD Alliance website – collated resources on COVID-19 and NCDs: here.
- LSHTM Centre for Global Chronic Conditions, COVID-19 and people with chronic conditions resources and publications list here
- See also:
Member resources on COVID-19 and NCDs
- Action for Global Health, information on the UK aid response to COVID-19 here
- Alzheimer’s Disease International, ‘ADI offers advice and support during COVID-19’ (resources page) here
- HelpAge International, ‘Coronavirus COVID-19’ (resources page) here
- The George Institute for Global Health blogs/news/virtual events/research here
- Primary Care International, COVID19 e-learning module for primary care clinicians in resource-poor settings here (includes ‘Managing patients with NCDs’ and ‘Mental health – patients and healthcare workers’)
- Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance, ‘COVID-19 resources’ (resources page) here (includes resources specific to LMICs)
- Global Action on Men’s Health, ‘COVID-19 and men: call for action – a statement by Global Action on Men’s Health’ here (11 May 2020)
- WCRF, Cancer prevention and COVID-19 statement here (27 April 2020 and will be updated)
- The George Institute for Global Health, Frontline Health Workers in COVID-19 Prevention and Control: Rapid Evidence Synthesis here (30 March 2020)
- World Obesity, ‘Obesity and COVID-19 policy statement’ here (29 March 2020)
- WCRF, Obesity and coronavirus (COVID-19) blog (21 April 2020) here
- Primary Care International statement, ‘COVID-19: what does it mean for fragile primary health care systems and workforce?’ here
- Blog from PCI’s CEO Julia Beart, ‘Steering PCI through a pandemic: standing together in a time of crisis’ (30 March 2020) here
- Blog from C3 Collaborating for Health’s Christine Hancock, ‘COVID-19 and chronic disease’ here (23 March 2020)
Please do not hesitate to get in touch via the form below if you have a resource that would be useful for the UK Working Group on NCDs or that you would like considered for inclusion in this list.