The Cambodian NCD Alliance (CNCDA) was one of 20 civil society alliances on Monday to be awarded a grant to accelerate its response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Provided by NCD Alliance (Global), the fund – called the Civil Society Solidarity Fund on Non-communicable Diseases – will support the critical needs of chronically ill Cambodians.
In a press release, the CNCDA said people living with non-communicable diseases (NCD) are facing serious health and financial challenges and the fund will support alliances, advocacy and communication activities to promote organisational stability and resilience.
The $300,000 fund will award grants of up to $15,000 to national and regional alliances. NCDs are the leading cause of death in Cambodia.
“Two out of three deaths are caused by NCDs and one-quarter of deaths happen before the age of 70,” according to the CNCDA.
The CNCDA said NCDs include cardiovascular diseases (heart disease and stroke), cancers, respiratory diseases, diabetes, and mental and neurological conditions. NCDs occur as a result of a combination of genetic, physiological, environmental and behavioural factors.
NCD Alliance (Global) president Todd Harper said the novel coronavirus pandemic shows the many intersections between Covid-19 and NCDs. People living with NCDs are more vulnerable to Covid-19, with a 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 prevent a reversal of gains made in NCD prevention and control around the world,” he said.
Cambodia will focus on ways to push NCDs up the national agenda using communication and connecting with influential individuals in the country. The main goal is to embed NCDs in the national policy with the Covid-19 response, according to the CNCDA.
CNCDA CEO Katie Dain said it is the first CNCDA fund to support NCD civil society organisations (CSOs) in response to Covid-19.
“During pandemics, notably HIV/AIDS, Ebola and climate change, CSOs have repeatedly reinforced community-led efforts in accelerating action from local to global levels,” she said.
Ministry of Health Preventive Medicine Department director Dr Kol Hero said the grant provides a significant opportunity to highlight specific vulnerabilities faced by people living with NCDs during this pandemic.
“This grant promotes the inclusion of NCDs in public health preparedness and health system strengthening in Cambodia,” he said.
The CNCDA said disruption to health services caused by Covid-19 is exacerbating issues for people living with NCDs.
It is therefore crucial that CSOs can raise the voices of communities and people living with NCDs, advocate for health policy reform and hold governments and other stakeholders accountable.