Today there are still 2,4 billion people without adequate sanitation facilities and about 900 million people without access to safe water.
People living in conflict or post conflict areas are particularly vulnerable and are lacking many of the basic health services. Compared to other Millennium Development Goals, those related to health are behind schedule, with little progress on improved maternal health in many countries.
More than 34 million people are living with HIV and AIDS globally, many of them without knowing. More than 8 million people in low and middle income countries were receiving treatment in 2011, and hopefully we will reach 15 million by 2015. UNAIDS's goal of an AIDS free generation seems to be a real possibility within reach.
Our global programmes
Norwegian Church Aid works with local partners in many countries to secure people’s right to clean water and good health. We have three global programmes within this field:
Our advocacy work
Due to the importance of access to safe water and adequate sanitation for public and individual health, NCA focuses on advocacy for the human right to water and sanitation. For instance, NCA is member of the Ecumenical Water Network (EWN), which advocates at an international level such as in the UN for the human right to water and sanitation.
Universal access to health services is the main focus of our advocacy work, both on national and local level. On a global level these issues are mainly addressed by our strategic partner World Council of Churches as well as World YWCA, who are particularly focusing on reproductive health and maternal health.
During the last couple of years it has become evident that antiretroviral therapy also is preventing the spread of the virus. This makes it even more important to advocate for access to treatment and affordable medicines for all.
Our long-term developement work
The AIDS epidemy
NCA's HIV and AIDS programs are specifically directed toward social mitigation of the pandemic, with a focus on women and youth. At the same time we address basic elements like awareness rising, testing and counseling. The work is done in cooperation with churches and local communities, who have a responsibility to give information and guidance in these matters.
Right to health
Lack of trained health personnel and lack of health facilities are threats to the right to health. Faith-based organisations are responsible for a substantial part of health service delivery in many low income countries. Particularly children and pregnant women are not accessing the services they need. The child mortality rates, as well as the rate of maternal deaths, are intolerably high in many countries. The AIDS pandemic also poses heavy burdens on the health systems. Norwegian Church Aid is focusing on these challenges.
Water, sanitation and hygiene
NCA and our partners deliver water and sanitation services to marginalised communities in ten countries. NCA has long-term partnerships to civil society organisations implementing programs with water resources management, drinking water supply, sanitation and hygiene promotion components. Typical countries are post-conflict countries such as South Sudan, Afghanistan and Somalia. In Angola, NCA supports a national church in implementation of water supply services in rural communities in the south of the country. Local communities gain access to water through wells with a hand pump or through a simple piped water scheme. In addition to positive health effects, it save time for water collection and the drudgery of carrying water is lessened.
Our emergency assistance
NCA is specialized in the delivery of water, sanitation and hygiene promotion services in emergency situations. NCA has 20 years of experience within emergency assistance and has pre-stored emergency equipment around the globe and trained stand-by personnel.
NCA is also running health programs in refugee camps, camps for internally displaced people and in post-conflict areas, through which we are providing basic health services and prepare the ground for more permanent health systems.
Our emergency assistance is done in partnership with ACT Alliance members all over the world.