The Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) Alliance, Nigeria, says it has been awarded 15,000 dollars (about N7.5 million) grant through the first Civil Society Solidarity Fund on Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs) and COVID-19.

The Communication Advisor, Mr. Abiola Awe, in a statement on Thursday in Lagos said the grant was from the 2021 Solidarity Fund totaling 335,000 dollars.

According to him, 19 civil society alliances from Africa, Asia, Europe, Eastern Mediterranean, Latin America and the Caribbean including NCD Alliance Nigeria, have been awarded grants to accelerate response to the coronavirus pandemic, which is now in its second year.

Awe quoted Anne Lise Ryel, President of the NCD Alliance as saying, “The COVID-19 pandemic has placed many challenges on NCD civil society, including financial sustainability.

“It is key to supporting alliances to ensure a vibrant and strong NCD civil society that can elevate voices of communities and people living with NCDs.

“And enable them mobilise resources, advocate for political action, health policy reform and hold governments and other stakeholders to account.

“The 2021 Solidarity Fund aims to do this.”

Also, Awe said that Dr. Sonny Kuku, the President of NCD Alliance Nigeria expressed his appreciation for this award from NCD Alliance, Geneva.

The communication advisor noted that Kuku emphasised that the award would assist to develop comprehensive and cohesive NCD advocacy and communications strategies, toward resilience and recovery, especially at the onset of the third wave of COVID -19 in Nigeria.

Awe quoted Kuku as saying: “NCD Alliance Nigeria activities under this grant will include organising meetings, virtual and on sites of Champions of People Living With NCDs (PLWNCDs) per state.

“It will help to connect relevant stakeholders to enhance Task-shifting and Task sharing (TSTS) with Basic Healthcare Provision Fund (BHPCF) for prevention, screening, treatment and care of PLWNCDs (Cardiovascular disease, Diabetes, Sickle Cell Disease and Mental health) in two states of the Federation, namely Lagos State and Osun.

“Synthesising and Integration of Task Shifting and Task Sharing (TSTS) Policy and BHCPF Policy as it relates to the delivery of Primary Healthcare (PHC) services to PLWNCDS in the first phase, with the aim to expand it to the other 34 states in Nigeria and FCT Abuja.”

According to Awe, Kuku says the expected outcomes of NCD Alliance Nigeria’s activities will include increased knowledge of key stakeholders in the states on the integration of Task Shifting and Task Sharing (TSTS) and BHCPF policy in the delivery of PHC services to PLWNCDs.

He added that the president expected the alliance to also improve political interest and awareness on personnel capacity and institutional infrastructures of PHCs in the states for care and treatment of PLWNCDs.

Awe added that Kuku expected the alliance to ensure the inclusion of PLWNCDs in decision-making processes on access to care, screening and treatment services at PHCs to PLWNCDs in the states.

“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 as well as to the health system disruptions experienced in most countries around the world.

“This means that the urgent need for NCD action and investment and for advocacy and pressure by NCD civil society has never been greater.

“COVID-19, however, has challenged its financial sustainability and the difficulties of adapting to a virtual context has stalled advocacy efforts on the ground.

“The Solidarity Fund aims to address these challenges, supporting NCD civil society in continuing its important work as countries and health systems endeavour to rebuild better and fairer, leaving no one behind,” Awe quoted Kuku as saying.

The communication advisor also quoted Katie Dain, CEO of NCD Alliance.

“The NCD Alliance launched the Solidarity Fund in 2020 as a first-of-its-kind fund to support exemplary efforts from NCD civil society organisations to respond to the pandemic, including advocating for the integration of NCDs into governments’ COVID-19 response plans.

“Building upon its successes and due to the continuation of COVID-19, we are now launching the 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.

“We are advocating for the needs of people living with NCDs, with the aim of advancing toward Universal Health Coverage, NCD prevention and control.

“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,” Awe quoted Dain as saying. (NAN)

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