KENYA – The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the Novo Nordisk Foundation, and the Grundfos Foundation have joined forces to provide an inclusive health response for vulnerable communities in the Republic of Kenya.

In a statement by UNHCR, Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, Chief Executive Officer of the Novo Nordisk Foundation, said: “By working together, we can help ensure that refugees and host communities gain access to inclusive and sustainable quality services in health and water.”

Under this new partnership with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, the Novo Nordisk Foundation, and Grundfos Foundation have pledged to provide US$9 million to the inclusive health response.

The Novo Nordisk Foundation is contributing US$7 million and the Grundfos Foundation US$2 million in support of the partnership.

This new and exciting collaboration builds on the respective competencies and expertise of all partners. Our aim is to create long-term systemic impact and sustainable solutions in the health sector,” outlined Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen.

The fresh funds will be used to support the transition in Kakuma refugee camp and Kalobeyei settlement from a humanitarian-supported health system to a more inclusive and sustainable health sector integrated into the national health system.

The purpose of this partnership is to strengthen access to quality health care, water, and sanitation for forcibly displaced people and their host communities in Turkana County, Kenya.

For her part, Kelly T. Clements, UN Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees, warmly welcomed the innovative and broad partnership with the Novo Nordisk Foundation and Grundfos Foundation.

We need the involvement of everyone, including stakeholders in the private sector, to help find solutions for people forced to flee and the communities that generously host them,” outlined Kelly T. Clements.

By the end of 2025, the partnership is projected to help build a larger and more skilled health workforce that is better equipped to address non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and mental health conditions.

Health-care facilities will also be strengthened, for example by integrating NCD clinics into existing primary health facilities and by providing them with sustainable access to clean water and sanitation services.

Equally important, UNHCR’s collaboration with Novo Nordisk Foundation and Grundfos Foundation will lead to better quality health services integrated into the national health system and better health outcomes for both refugees and host communities.

Moreover, the multi-million-dollar commitment sets the stage for growing private sector support for refugees ahead of the Global Refugee Forum (GRF), the world’s largest gathering on refugee issues.

The Global Refugee Forum 2023 will take place between 13-15 December in Geneva, with advance events on 12 December.

The Global Refugee Forum offers a platform for participants to announce new pledges and share learning to inform and inspire further responsibility-sharing and sustainable solutions.

Speaking about the event, Kelly T. Clements highlighted: “Looking ahead to the Global Refugee Forum, this is exactly the kind of collaboration with partners that is required.”

With the support from the two foundations, UNHCR, in cooperation with the Government of Kenya, will improve refugees’ access to inclusive and sustainable health services and clean and safe water, sanitation, and hygiene, thereby enhancing the self-reliance of refugees.

Commenting on the new partnership, Kim Nøhr Skibsted, Executive Director of the Grundfos Foundation, said: “Access to clean and safe water and decent sanitation and hygiene is critical for the healthy development of any society as well as a cornerstone in providing quality health care.”

It is part of the Inclusive Refugee Response Partnership – a new public-private alliance that has been set up between the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Novo Nordisk Foundation, Grundfos Foundation, and Lego Foundation.  

In the pilot phase, the alliance is pioneering a programme in Kenya that supports the country’s efforts to deliver integrated services for refugees and host communities in the health, water, and education sectors in Turkana County.

This upcoming programme aligns with the objectives of Kalobeyei Integrated Socio-Economic Development Plan in Turkana West Sub-County.

As part of the alliance initiative, the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs will also be supporting UNHCR’s health and education programme in Turkana.

In partnership with the Novo Nordisk Foundation and UNHCR, we are doing our part to deliver long-term and transformational solutions in health and water that benefit both refugees and host communities in Turkana,” underscored Kim Nøhr Skibsted.

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