Novo Nordisk and Grundfos: new partnership with UNHCR

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Novo Nordisk Foundation and Grundfos Foundation partner with UNHCR to strengthen inclusive health care for refugees and host communities in Kenya

  UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency has welcomed a new partnership with the Novo Nordisk Foundation and Grundfos Foundation that will provide $9 million to strengthen access to quality health care, water and sanitation for forcibly displaced people and their host communities in Turkana County, Kenya.

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 GRF will take place in Geneva from 13-15 December 2023, offering a platform for participants to announce new pledges and share learning to inform and inspire further responsibility-sharing and sustainable solutions.

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The aim of the new partnership is 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. With the support from the two foundations, UNHCR, together 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.

“This new and exciting collaboration builds on the respective competencies and expertise of all partners and our aim is to create long-term systemic impact and sustainable solutions in the health sector. By working together, we can help ensure that refugees and host communities gain access to inclusive and sustainable quality services in health and water,” said Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, CEO of the Novo Nordisk Foundation.

“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. We are proud to be working in partnership with the Novo Nordisk Foundation and UNHCR, doing our part to deliver long-term and transformational solutions in health and water that benefit both refugees and host communities in Turkana,” said Kim Nøhr Skibsted, Executive Director of the Grundfos Foundation.

Between now and the end of 2025, the partnership will 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. Ultimately, this will lead to better quality health services integrated into the national health system and better health outcomes for both refugees and host communities.

“I am very pleased to announce this innovative and broad partnership with the Novo Nordisk Foundation and Grundfos Foundation. We need the involvement of everyone – including the private sector – to help find solutions for people forced to flee and the communities that generously host them,” said Kelly T. Clements, UN Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees. “Looking ahead to the Global Refugee Forum that kicks off on 13 December, this is exactly the kind of collaboration with partners that is required. It will give refugees, generously hosted by Kenya for many years, new opportunities and foster a sense of hope and belonging.”

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

The collaboration with the two foundations 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. As a first step, 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 as part of the 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.