31 March 2020

A Note on COVID-19

Every day, new developments emerge on the complex nature and global reach of the COVID-19 pandemic. Access Accelerated is closely watching the outbreak and thinking of all those affected.

We stand by the health workers and responders who are working around the clock to protect communities and save lives. And we join the global health community in the call for the public and private sectors to work together to respond.

We are also proud of the Access Accelerated member companies and partners rising to meet this challenge. They are fast-tracking innovation to advance treatment and vaccine testing, and they are providing crucial donations in this time of need.

Now more than ever, we see how investments in health infrastructure, policy and capacity make a difference. These investments are crucial to manage infectious diseases and support the response to non-communicable diseases (NCDs). There is much to learn as the world rapidly responds to this outbreak that will be applicable and critical for our work with partners toward a future where no one dies prematurely from NCDs.

We remain committed to working together and advocating for stronger health systems to face today’s most pressing health challenges head-on. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if there is anything you or your organization needs during this trying time.

James Headen Pfitzer
Access Accelerated Director
Women and NCDs
Three decades. That’s how long NCDs have been the leading cause of death among women globally. With NCDs affecting women at an alarming rate, Access Accelerated is bringing attention to women’s health in this month’s issue of Access Today. As declared on International Women’s Day on March 8, “An equal world is an enabled world.” For Access Accelerated, this means equal access to NCD prevention, treatment and care. Achieving this requires assessing how we, as a global community, can better address the unique needs and contexts of women.
Photo: Martha Coffie and her mother.
BBC StoryWorks & NCD Alliance Turning the Tide series, “Driving NCD Advocacy in Ghana
By the Numbers
  • Women are up to 3x more likely to die following a serious heart attack than men as a result of receiving unequal care and treatment (Journal of the American Heart Association).
  • Cervical cancer kills 266,000 women each year, with 85% of deaths occurring in developing countries (WHO).
  • Hypertension is the second leading cause of maternal mortality worldwide (The Lancet).
  • Women account for 70% of the global health workforce. They contribute approximately 5%, or 3 trillion USD, to global GDP out of which almost 50% is unrecognized and unpaid (WHO). Women are also often the sole caregivers for family members with chronic diseases.
Exploring Solutions
From helping women access fistula treatment to advancing screening for cervical cancer, Access Accelerated member companies are making important advances in access to NCD prevention, treatment and care. Collectively, we’re bringing our knowledge, experience and resources for sustainable solutions while working toward holistic health care for women and girls. To achieve this, we must resolve the crucial issues women face related to NCDs.
The Triple Burden
  • The issue: In low- and middle-income countries, women often face a triple burden of reproductive and maternal health conditions, communicable diseases and NCDs.
  • Where we stand: Our partners at the City Cancer Challenge (C/Can) said it best - “The reality is that gender inequalities shape health, with outcomes for women’s cancers prejudiced by gender, where a woman lives, and her social and economic status.” C/Can embraces a gender-sensitive, evidence-based approach to cancer solutions, and for all NCDs, Access Accelerated recognizes the ways women are vulnerable to additional health conditions and persistent inequalities.
Photo: BBC StoryWorks & NCD Alliance Turning the Tide series,
Cultivating Community Participation in Vietnam
The Role of Women in NCD Response
  • The issue: When it comes to NCD response and the journey toward universal health coverage (UHC), women are courageous leaders on the frontlines of health service delivery. Far too often, these contributions are unrecognized.
  • Where we stand: With the growing burden of NCDs, and global shortage of health workers, it’s especially vital to recognize women’s role in delivering healthcare. In a 2019 policy brief, the NCD Alliance shares some of the gender-specific dimensions of NCDs that UHC must address.
The Big Picture
  • We need to understand what solutions work for women living with chronic conditions so that our policies and programs make a difference.
  • Sharing knowledge and data is a vital step forward. Implementers can exchange information on how gender norms and roles affect health-seeking behaviors. Partners can reflect on how risk factors for NCDs are influenced by gender.
Photo: BBC StoryWorks & NCD Alliance Turning the Tide series,
Reforming Rural Healthcare in Kenya
Must-reads Before you head out...
  • Access Accelerated contributed to three mini-documentaries featured in Turning the Tide, a series of short films about the bold actions being carried out to fight NCDs in Ghana, Vietnam and Kenya. Photos from these three videos are featured throughout this newsletter.
Please contact us at with any questions and follow the conversation around industry actions to tackle NCDs on Twitter at @NCDAccess and on our website
Mailing Address:
Chemin des Mines 9 P.O. Box 195 1211
Geneva 20 Switzerland
+41 22 338 32 00

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