The three-year project will be implemented in Burundi, Sudan and Tanzania. The aim is that up to one million refugees, returnees and internally displaced women and men, and at least 500,000 people from the host communities, will benefit from better noncommunicable disease care.
A new partnership between the World Diabetes Foundation and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency – launched today – will ensure that forcibly displaced people living with noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) have access to improved health services, including both prevention and treatment.
Noncommunicable diseases such as hypertension, cardiovascular and chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes and mental health conditions can be life-threatening if they are not treated. These diseases are causing an ever-growing number of deaths globally, including among refugees.
Often living in dire circumstances with few or no health facilities and services nearby, many refugees already face tremendous obstacles in meeting their health needs. Forced displacement risks disrupting the treatment of NCDs or even delaying the diagnosis, and this can have catastrophic consequences for refugee women and men.
“It is essential that prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases is systematically integrated in the humanitarian response and as part of a holistic response to refugee health. We look forward to working closely together with UNHCR on improving the response to noncommunicable diseases in refugee settings in Burundi, Sudan and Tanzania,” says Leif Fenger Jensen, Manager Director of the World Diabetes Foundation.
The partnership has a total value of 43.8 million DKK (6.8 million USD) and is supported through a grant from the Novo Nordisk Foundation to the World Diabetes Foundation.
“By supporting this great partnership, the Novo Nordisk Foundation wishes to improve the health of refugees worldwide. With the World Diabetes Foundation’s strong technical experience and UNHCR’s global role in promoting refugee health and solid presence on the ground, we believe that their collaboration will have a substantial impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands of refugees and people from host communities living with noncommunicable diseases,” says Hanna Line Jakobsen, Senior Vice President, Social & Humanitarian, Novo Nordisk Foundation.
The partnership will help build the capacity of local health facilities, train primary health care professionals and community health workers and provide essential equipment and supplies. Health services will also be strengthened, including NCD awareness raising, assessments and screenings of risk factors, diagnosis and provision of continued care. At the global level, UNHCR’s efforts to expand and sustain the integration of NCDs into health programming across the organization will also be supported.
“In UNHCR we are very keen to continue to scale up our efforts to integrate care and prevention of noncommunicable diseases into our health programmes – an area that is significantly underfunded. Private sector actors, such as the World Diabetes Foundation, have an important role to play in supporting UNHCR’s efforts and I am extremely pleased about the launch of this partnership with the involvement of two strong and visionary Danish foundations,” says Henrik M. Nordentoft, UNHCR’s Representative for the Nordic and Baltic countries.