The world is currently witnessing the worst public health crisis in recent history, with COVID-19 pandemic affecting around 800 thousand people in over 195 countries around the world. The scope and intensity of such pandemic means that no single agency can work alone to effectively control and mitigate its impact. Governments need to collaborate with a wide array of agencies and institutions to shape the collective response needed to achieve desired goals.
Non-governmental organizations (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 (Mahmood 2009); NGOs have the technical expertise, human resources, communications and infrastructure required to contribute significantly to the response; they are also a trusted entity with strong ties to the community which can facilitate information and resource distribution.
Given the growing number of NGOs operating in the Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR), their mobilization is strategic in controlling the spread of COVID-19 and mitigating its impact on community. Nonetheless, it remains unclear to what extent NGOs are being mobilized and harnessed in the COVID-19 response, the degree to which NGO's central role in the crisis response is recognized and promoted, and the existing mechanisms to optimize their involvement.
The Knowledge to Policy Center (K2P) at the Faculty of Health Sciences in the American University developed a “Rapid Response Document" with the aims to promote and strengthen the role of local and international NGOs in the COVID-19 response. The document specifically presents the best available evidence on the role of NGOs in pandemic response, provides an overview of measures adopted by NGOs in other countries to combat COVID-19 pandemic, describes existing NGO coordination models, highlights lessons learned from NGO involvement in Ebola response, and concludes with country-level implications.
Click HERE to read the full study