UKPHS COVID-19 Response Fund to Promote Safety and Well-Being of Health Workers
The UKPHS COVID-19 Response Fund has been launched to support established Health Partnerships (HPs) to address gaps in skills and knowledge to prevent and treat COVID-19, promote the safety and well-being of health workers in LMICs, including their physical and mental health, and provide support so that essential health services can be provided in spite of COVID-19 risks and pressures.
The UK Partnerships for Health Systems programme (UKPHS) aims to work with low and lower middle-income countries (LMICs) to build stronger and more resilient health systems, making progress towards achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) through improved health service performance.
The programme particularly targets poor and vulnerable populations and will ultimately contribute to better health and wellbeing (SDG 3), including ending preventable deaths. Funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), UKPHS engages the UK health sector by harnessing the expertise of UK health institutions and professionals in partnerships with LMIC counterparts.
Health Partnerships are in a unique position to offer support to the COVID-19 response, drawing on strong ties of trust, collegiality and professional respect that sit at the heart of relationships developed over many years. While international travel will not be funded through the fund, HPs will be able to harness flows of support at an institutional and individual level through utilizing technology and mobilizing virtual communication tools.
UKPHS is managed by the Tropical Health and Education Trust (THET) and the partners the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM), who are providing technical assistance in the areas of health systems strengthening, gender equality and social inclusion, and monitoring, evaluation, research and learning.
The key aims of the programme are to:
Support the development of stronger and more resilient health systems through, for example, better governance, information, and management of health institutions
Improve the quality of health services through systematic approaches to improving the skills and knowledge of health workers and other professionals in the health sector, especially in reproductive, maternal, neonatal, child and adolescent services where this aligns with country priorities
Build on institutional capacity to decrease any reliance on external support.
£10,000 will be available per project, with grants running from 1st February to 31st July 2021.
What will be Funded?
Remote training, workshop, mentoring and communication costs, e.g. online meeting platforms or e-learning subscriptions;
Equipment and other physical resources for project management purposes (i.e. laptops or mobile devices);
Any activity or item/s that can be proven to meet the aims of the UKPHS COVID-19 Response Fund;
Project management costs, for the UK or LMIC partner, up to a maximum of 50% of the total grant. This can include project or MEL staff salary contributions;
Contingency up to 5% of the total budget to factor in exchange rate variances and/or bank charges;
Publications and the development of web pages. NB any digital spend, defined as “external-facing service provided through the internet to citizens, businesses, civil society or NGOs”, will need to be authorised by the DFID Digital Spend Panel;
Development of discussion documents, policy briefs and technical notes for dissemination of learning.
What will NOT be Funded?
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) costs, including materials used to manufacture PPE;
Cost of IPC equipment or materials, including the raw materials used to make alcohol-based hand rub or alternative antibacterial substances. The decision to not fund the purchase of PPE or IPC materials and equipment is a result of FCDO funding these costs through macro means and in alignment with individual governments in order to ensure appropriate economies of scale and ensure sufficient coverage of facilities;
Costs relating to the delivery of health services (e.g. clinical staff salaries);
International travel, and associated costs ;
Professional fees/Sitting allowances. While attendees at capacity development activities may be reimbursed for their travel and expenses, they will not be paid for their time;
Any activity, other than the purchasing of equipment, that cannot begin within two weeks of funds being received.
Established HPs can support each other by
Delivering training and advice through virtual means.
Sharing, signposting or contextualizing training resources and tools.
Providing psychological support and solidarity.
In addition, both UK and LMIC partners can benefit from innovations developed to deal with COVID-19 and previous pandemics in low-resource settings.
Applicants are advised to consider how their intervention will take an approach which ensures vulnerable are not left behind, and that steps are taken to reduce indirect impacts of any COVID-19 response, particularly in terms of increasing gender disparities.
Partnerships can consider interventions which:
demonstrate a gender-responsive emergency preparedness and/or response strategy;
consider the gendered needs of health workers, which are often predominantly women;
support the collection and analysis of sex and gender disaggregated data related to COVID-19;
consider conducting a gender analysis of COVID-19 to inform planning and response, including both primary short-term and long-term impacts;
include costs within the budget which allow for gender sensitive or transformative approaches.
All proposals must aim to address gaps in skills and knowledge to prevent and treat COVID-19, support the safety and well-being of health workers in LMICs, and/or provide support so that essential health services can be provided in spite of COVID-19 risks and pressures. It is not appropriate at present for individuals involved in HPs to support initiatives through international travel, so they expect support to be provided to one another remotely by partners.
Examples of approaches that funding can be used to support include, but are not limited to :
Remote training, mentoring and supervision on responding to COVID-19. This could include training and mentoring in surveillance, implementation of IPC related measures, including use of PPE and hand hygiene, or treatment of patients with COVID-19.
Supporting data collection and analysis related to COVID-19.
Advice and guidance to national teams to consider response strategies and implementation.
Guidance on the production of materials necessary for effective IPC approved by the WHO(unfortunately the procurement of materials for this is not eligible under this call for applications).
Support for the development, printing and/or distribution of public health information/ communication materials (in line with WHO guidance and national strategies). Reminders/posters are often used to remind all health workers as well as patients and visitors about hand hygiene as part of a multifaceted approach to support behaviour change.
Interventions which support the psychological resilience or well-being of health workers.
Sub-Saharan Africa: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Rep., Congo, Dem. Rep, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, São Tomé and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Somaliland, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, the Gambia, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe
South East Asia: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste, Vietnam
The core requirements for applications are:
Applications must be made by an established HP between a UK health institution and an LMIC health institution based in Sub Saharan Africa or South East Asia.
Grants are for single, time-bound projects that are deliverable within the budget and timeframe proposed and agreed with THET
Projects must align with the aim of the UKPHS COVID-19 Response Fund – to address gaps in skills and knowledge to prevent and treat COVID-19 and support the safety and well-being of health workers in LMICs, and/or support essential health services to manage risks and pressures resulting from COVID-19
Applications must be made in English. THET cannot accept applications written in other languages.
If your HP and proposal is eligible to receive support, applications will be judged against the following criteria:
The proposal aligns with the aims of the fund and clearly addresses a priority need;
The project aims are clear with a focus on measurable outcomes that are achievable with the resources and time available;
The project is aligned with the national COVID-19 response and does not duplicate other efforts;
The project is aligned with FCDO’s priority interventions guidance;
The project ensures a ‘do no harm approach’, addressing COVID-19 while ensuring quality essential health services are not overlooked. Projects actively consider any indirect negative impact which they may incur;
The approach to the project is feasible, appropriate and relevant to the local context;
The project ensures equitable benefit for all regardless of gender, disability and other characteristics of social exclusion;
The project activities can begin as soon as funding is received;
The partnership is equitable and has the capacity and capability to deliver the project;
The project demonstrates value for money.
For more information, visit https://www.thet.org/ukphs/ukphs-covid-19-response-fund/