It's time to mobilise NGOs in response to Covid-19 crisis
The score of Covid-19 globally, means that no single agency can work alone in responding to the pandemic, to control and mitigate its impact .
It is therefore necessary for national and provincial government to collaborate with a wide range of agencies, including agencies and institutions, in order to shape the collective response needed to achieve desired goals.
Nongovernmental organisations, (NGOs) nonprofit organisations (NPOs) and nonprofit companies (NPCs) during this crisis have the opportunity and the responsibility to play a major role in pandemic response.
Their response is more key among the most vulnerable population groups. NGOs and other institutions outside national government have the technical expertise needed to configure significantly to the response.
According to the UN general assembly, it remains unclear to what extent NGOs are being mobilised and harnessed in the Covid-19 response and the existing mechanism to optimise their involvement. The world as we know is currently witnessing the worst public health crisis in recent history, with Covid-19 affecting countries all over the globe. The term "NGO" is very broad and it encompasses many different types of organisations with no general accepted definition of an NGO.
According to the World Bank, "NGOs include many groups and that are entirely or largely independent of government and that have primarily humanitarian or cooperative rather than commercial objectives." The term can therefore be used to cover all non-profit organisations. Non-governmental organisation, can be organised on a local, national and international level.
There's a comprehensive synthesis evidence that reveals that an array of critical services that NGOs respond to the needs of those affected by emergencies, pandemics / epidemic and humanitarian crises.
These are the following: (1) public health education and community empowerment; (2) provision of response training to local leaders and public health staff; (3) provision of medical supplies and hygiene kits, (4) participation in contact testing, surveillance and case management, (5) provision of social support and care to communities and vulnerable populations affected by social distancing measures.
Mahmood (2009) had this to say on the strengthening of NGOs: "NGOs have the opportunity and the responsibility to play a major role in pandemic preparedness, response and recovery, particularly among the most vulnerable population groups."
The mobilisation of NGOs operating in the Eastern Mediterranean Region, is very much strategic in controlling the spread of Covid-19, and also to mitigate the impact of the virus on communities.
The world is watching as the virus continues to accelerate, there's definitely an unprecedented need for all stakeholders to play their roles in mitigating the widespread of the pandemic. The pandemic is expected to have immense short and long term impacts on a large number of people, predominantly those who are mostly vulnerable.
It is thus critical for NGOs to be mobilised now and not delay their involvement in the response to Covid-19. Latest reports from institutions and researchers concluded that, the cost of not engaging all relevant stakeholders can have a devastating impact on health systems and population outcomes it can lead to another avoidable human tragedy.
Public health and community during this pandemic, NGOs have a role to launch education programmes that include campaigns and advocacy, which will focus on providing information about risks, as well as specific guidelines for prevention and early detection of risk.
*Nduna is a CEO of Ubomi Foundation