WDF and NNF announce new strategic partnership to accelerate NCD prevention and care

World Diabetes Foundation and Novo Nordisk Foundation join forces to accelerate the prevention and management of diabetes and related non-communicable diseases for underserved populations.

15 March 2024 Andreea Enea

WDF's Managing Director Leif Jensen discusses the impact of the new Agreement with NNF's CEO Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen

World Diabetes Foundation (WDF) and Novo Nordisk Foundation (NNF) have signed a seven-year Partnership Framework Agreement (2024-2030), granting 260 million DKK to WDF to accelerate prevention and care for diabetes and related non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in low and middle-income countries (LMICs).

The partnership is guided by the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goal target 3.4: to reduce premature mortality from NCDs by one-third through prevention and treatment and promote mental health and well-being. 

The Partnership Agreement will expand the scope and impact of WDF efforts in countries where the diabetes crisis hits hardest. According to the International Diabetes Federation, 75% of the world’s 537 million adults with diabetes live in LMICs, yet two-thirds of cases go undiagnosed, leading to life-threatening complications, premature deaths, and overwhelmed health systems. NCDs including diabetes cause 74% of total annual deaths globally, and 85% occur in LMICs.

Kirza Buch Kristensen, WDF's Head of Strategy and Business Development, presents the five thematic areas covered by the new Framework.

The costs of diabetes and related NCDs on the individual, health systems and societies correlate directly with poverty and barriers to sustainable development. Therefore, the people most impacted by diabetes and its complications are underserved populations including people living in humanitarian settings, women and children, and people living with type 1 diabetes (T1D). While the global NCD response has gained momentum, funding remains insufficient and national efforts under-resourced. 

This calls for foundations and other philanthropies to contribute more and align with national and global frameworks for NCD prevention and care – the WDF-NNF Framework Agreement responds to this critical call to accelerated action. The agreement marks a new phase of the collaboration between the two foundations. The comprehensive, strategic framework will amplify WDF’s efforts to scale up NCD prevention and care. 

A special reception

On 12 March, a reception was held at the WDF Office in Denmark to celebrate the new Partnership Agreement, with guests from WDF’s Board of Directors, the NNF including CEO Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, and Novo Nordisk A/S including CEO Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen attending the event. 

‘I want to thank NNF for their ambitions in supporting people living with cardiometabolic diseases in LMIC, their trust in WDF, and for consistently raising the bar. The support provided through WDF in the past several years has enabled us to make a sizeable impact’, said Dr Anil Kapur, Chairman of the WDF Board, during the reception. 

Chairman of the WDF's Board Dr Anil Kapur expresses his gratitude and confidence in the impact of the new Framework Agreement, during his speech at the event.

‘As enhanced funding comes in, partnering countries and leading global health stakeholders have taken even further notice of us. We have received remarkable recognition, and with our joint efforts, we can multiply our impact.’

At the event, the guests had the opportunity to gain more insight into the work and impact of current NNF-WDF-supported projects. This included health system strengthening projects in East Africa and projects to support the integration of NCD prevention and care for refugees and host populations living in humanitarian settings including Jordan and Lebanon, efforts to support children living with T1D and the Diabetes Compass improving diabetes and hypertension care with digital health solutions. 

The new Agreement remains aligned with the geographical focus of NNF and WDF’s ongoing collaboration and will focus on the Middle East, Eastern Africa, and India. 

“We are pleased to be able to take our partnership with WDF to the next level. In an ever-changing world where the burden of diabetes and other cardiometabolic diseases is on the rise, the new Framework Agreement provides WDF with much greater flexibility, enabling them to engage with new partners and reach more people in need of prevention and diabetes care in the geographical focus areas,” said Professor Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, CEO of NNF.

NNF's CEO Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen discusses the new phase of the WDF-NNF partnership with guests at the event.

While Health System Strengthening, NCDs in Humanitarian Settings and Type 1 Diabetes remain strategic priorities, two new thematic areas – Primary Prevention and Innovative Financing – are now included. 

Health System Strengthening involves projects that aim to create sustainable, resilient, and equitable healthcare delivering quality NCD services for the population.

Projects in Humanitarian Settings aim to integrate diabetes and NCD prevention and care into humanitarian responses, to ensure continuity of quality care for patients. 

Type 1 Diabetes projects aim to improve access to vital and specialised care for children and adolescents with T1D. The focus is on promoting and strengthening the integration of T1D care into national policies and health systems and improving continuity of care. 

Primary Prevention, a core WDF intervention area, has been added as a theme to enable health-promoting environments with opportunities for healthy living and healthy pregnancies. WDF’s approach focuses on bringing about change in settings that enhance these opportunities, such as schools and health facilities.

Finally, the Innovative Financing area aspires to attract new types of stakeholders through innovative and scalable financing models to scale up financing for diabetes prevention and care in LMICs. 

Projects to be supported through the partnership agreement will be co-developed and implemented by WDF partner organisations. 

WDF's Jacklynne Anyango Ogutu shows Novo Nordisk's CEO Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen and guests how digital health solutions are used for screening in underserved communities.

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