Novartis is making rapid progress in distributing the allocated USD 20 million of the Novartis COVID-19 Response Fund, announced mid-March, to impacted countries around the world. The fund aims to support public health initiatives designed to help communities manage the challenges posed by the pandemic, such as programs to strengthen healthcare infrastructure, digital platforms for data collection or dissemination of important public health information, and community health programs.
“We are managing this process with great efficiency and speed, aiming to approve applications as quickly as possible, but of course in full compliance with all applicable regulations,” said Klaus Moosmayer, Chief Ethics, Risk and Compliance Officer at Novartis. “We have already received many applications and aim to ensure the funding reaches those who need it as quickly as possible.”
To date, over 50 local projects have been approved to receive funding, including Italy, Brazil and sub-Saharan Africa.
USD 1 000 000 is approved to be donated by Novartis Italia to Campania Region Civil Protection. Italy is severely impacted by COVID-19, and requires aid to strengthen medical infrastructures and provide equipment and devices to hospitals and health operators coping with the emergency. The Civil Protection/Novartis taskforce aims to quickly identify and respond to the most immediate and urgent needs in the Campania region where the outbreak is threatening the sustainability of the healthcare system. Campania is also home to the Novartis production site at Torre Annunziata, which produces life-changing medicines for our patients around the world.
Over USD 140 000 is planned to be donated to the Croatian Institute for Public Health, an organization at the forefront of the country’s fight against COVID-19. The support aims to strengthen the national healthcare infrastructure, establish digital platforms for dissemination of public health information and enhance community health programs specific to the pandemic. In particular, it aims to address the urgent need for purchasing COVID-19 tests and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) equipment for hospitals and health centers.
Sub Saharan Africa (SSA)
USD 1 000 000 is approved for donations to the WHO Africa/AFTCOR (the African COVID-19 task force) and four SSA Clusters through NGOs like the Red Cross. This donation aims to support aid across 40 countries in the region, where the potential effects of COVID-19 could be devastating due to the healthcare challenges already faced by the continent. The funds are urgently needed to help mobilize measures for the prevention and spread of this infection, including purchases of soap, sanitizer and bleach, and essential caregiver equipment like PPE, thermometers and other devices. Educational materials are also urgently needed to advise on isolation and safe treatment and to support the home care of patients – a necessity in many of these countries.
USD 250 000 has been allocated for a donation to the Lebanese Red Cross (LRC) to help tackle their current state of emergency, made worse by the socio-economic crisis. The LRC is currently the only ambulance provider transporting suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients. There is a need for additional PPE to prepare for the expected influx of cases and to increase awareness of the infection in vulnerable groups. Over 20% of the Lebanese population are Syrian and Palestinian refugees who are living in camps with poor sanitation and little or no access to healthcare.
USD 100,000 in total has been approved for donation across four beneficiaries:
USD 30 000 to Mosteiro de São Geraldo, a NGO linked to the Catholic Church, and USD 25 000 to Instituto Escola do Povo. Both organizations are providing basic supplies, such as food and personal hygiene products, to those living in the Sao Paulo slums.
USD 25 000 to the Brazilian Red Cross, to support their healthcare activities, specifically with the elderly population. The donation aims to help purchase and distribute essential hygiene kits and provide targeted heath education to this vulnerable group.
USD 20 000 to Federation of Beneficent Public Hospitals of São Paulo, who are responsible for more than 400 public hospitals across Brazil, representing around 70% of the public healthcare in the country. The funding aims to support the purchase and distribution of masks, gloves, hand sanitizers and other basic healthcare equipment.
USD 500 000 has been allocated for a donation to the National Agency for Disaster Management (BNPB), which is leading the “Acceleration for COVID-19 Handling” Task Force, centralizing the aid response across the country. Indonesia is currently facing an increase in cases, particularly in healthcare workers due to the scarcity of PPE and devices. This donation aims to support efforts to purchase protective equipment for healthcare professionals, as well as treatment for patients.