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Reducing the burden of NCDs in fragile environments

18 Mar 2016

On 3-4 March, over 200 leaders from the business, humanitarian, health and academic sectors gathered at an event organized by the Global Partnership for Humanitarian Impact and Innovation (GPHI2) in Lausanne. The aim was to find innovative solutions to common challenges around health care in fragile environments.

There is a globalization of vulnerabilities, which means that fragility is no longer just a problem for humanitarians; the business world and governments now also need to think about how to embrace fragility. GPHI2 is the forum for bringing together these diverse parties.

Day one

The focus on day one was on the reality of humanitarian work in fragile environments and the reasons for other sectors to partner with humanitarian organizations to create and adapt solutions, harnessing innovative tools and technology. It was emphasized that this should be seen by business in particular not as a risk or obligation, but as an opportunity. The reality is that corporate actors need to learn about fragility to see and understand how it affects the world and how they need to adapt to this phenomenon.

Additional sessions also explored International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) operations in 2016, particularly around the five main poles of violence and instability, and ICRC’s innovation and collaboration ecosystem.

Day two

Day two featured the Non-Communicable Diseases session, with World Heart Federation CEO and Vice-Chair of the Non-Communicable Diseases Alliance (NCDA) Johanna Ralston acting as moderator and panelist. The aim of the session was to increase cross sector engagement and collaboration in reducing the burden of NCDs in fragile environments, focusing specifically on: access to medication, clinical management (model of care) and follow-up of patients.

The knowledge gained during the event is expected to lead to the development, during 2017, of health projects integrating management of NCDs within International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) health programmes. It is also intended to develop a platform via the ICRC Red Innovation website to facilitate cross sector exchange of experience and knowledge in the field of NCDs

“ICRC is to be commended for taking on this issue head on.  As their frontline workers have observed, NCDs are very much a challenge in fragile health systems, and exacerbated by the fact that CVD and other NCDs have not been understood as problems affecting people in fragile states and refugee settings. The crisis of refugees from Syria and other countries in the region has brought this to light, with significant numbers in camps or transition settings requiring treatment for diabetes, hypertension and other NCDs, all conditions that generally need a functioning health system. Innovative solutions and thinking are needed to address this.”

Johanna Ralston, CEO, World Heart Federation

“Applications to manage NCDs are out there. We need to find them, test them in fragile areas and not invent new applications when there are already good solutions available”.

Paul Epping, Partner, Healthcare Transformation Services, Philips