ICRC and Novartis launch partnership to improve access to health care in fragile countries

Following the ICRC's Global Partnerships for Impact and Innovation (GPHI2) event in Lausanne, the ICRC and Novartis launched a partnership, focusing on improving care and treatment to the most vulnerable populations in Lebanon (Syrian refugees, underserved Lebanese and Palestinian patients), suffering from non-communicable diseases (NCDs), also known as chronic diseases.

NCDs represent the foremost cause of mortality and morbidity in Lebanon. This category of disease is one of the reasons for competition between host and refugee communities for public health services.

The ICRC has therefore made it its priority to support NCD health care by improving access to proper diagnosis, treatment and follow-up for patients affected by common NCDs in the catchment areas of the ICRC-supported health facilities. The aim is to establish a system of (secondary) prevention to avoid long-term negative health outcomes (e.g. stroke, nephropathy, etc.) in high-risk patients (e.g. hypertensive, diabetic) through  appropriate identification, treatment and follow-up (to adjust treatment, assess need for referral, etc.).

Novartis Access focuses on the affordability and availability of 15 on- and off-patent medicines addressing key NCDs – cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, respiratory illnesses and breast cancer – in low- and lower-middle-income countries. A first in the industry, the Novartis Access portfolio is offered as a basket to governments, non-governmental organizations and other public-sector health-care providers.

Novartis Access portfolio medicines are provided to the ICRC at a price of USD 1 per treatment per month for two NCD types: cardiovascular diseases (mainly high-blood pressure) and diabetes. Together, these two diseases account for more than 50% of the national mortality.

Through this project, the ICRC is working to establish a blueprint for improving the diagnosis, treatment and follow-up of refugee patients suffering from chronic diseases.

Novartis has been a member of the ICRC's Corporate Support Group (CSG) since 2013. The ICRC and CSG members explore innovative solutions to challenges that we face, by aligning their assets, skills and networks.

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The Syrian crisis and non-communicable diseases (NDCs) in Lebanon - factsheet

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