World Heart Day was founded in 2000 to inform people around the globe that heart disease and stroke are the world’s leading causes of death. World Heart Day is an annual event which takes place on 29 September every year. Created by the World Heart Federation, World Heart Day is the perfect platform for the CVD (Cardiovascular disease) community to unite in the fight against CVD and reduce the global disease burden.
In line with the motto of fighting against CVD, “Global Hearts”, a new initiative from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and partners launched on the margins of the UN General Assembly, aims to beat back the global threat of cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks and strokes - the world’s leading cause of death.
More than 17 million people die annually from CVD. Many of these people have been exposed to unhealthy behaviours, including tobacco use, eating foods containing too much salt and inadequate physical activity. And many could be saved by better access to medical care for high blood pressure (responsible for the bulk of heart disease-related deaths annually), high blood cholesterol and other conditions that raise the risk for heart disease and stroke.
Global Hearts is part of a new effort to scale up prevention and control of CVD, especially in developing countries. It is collaboration between WHO, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US CDC), and other partners, including the World Heart Federation, the World Stroke Organisation, the International Society of Hypertension, and the World Hypertension League.
The Global Hearts Initiative comprises three technical packages:
SHAKE: a new set of evidence-backed policy options and examples to support governments to lower population salt consumption. If fully implemented in every country, SHAKE could save millions of lives per year and dramatically reduce the burden of NCDs on health systems.
HEARTS: This technical package gives countries the tools to incorporate cardiovascular disease management best practices at the primary health care level to reduce cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol. HEARTS aims to prevent heart attacks and strokes through equitable access to ongoing, standardised and quality care.
MPOWER: Tobacco kills around 6 million people every year. MPOWER is a set of six practical, affordable and achievable measures to help countries implement specific provisions of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. This new push will help scale up efforts by many countries that are already implementing the MPOWER package of demand-reduction interventions for effective tobacco control.
Based on the Global Hearts technical packages, WHO, the US CDC and partners will provide governments with the technical support required to implement and scale up interventions to reduce blood pressure, and prevent heart attacks and strokes. Specific activities will include:
- * Establishing demonstration sites in 14 countries
- * Developing salt reduction and tobacco control plans
- * Developing simplified and standardised management protocols
- * Improving access to medicines and technologies
- * Building the capacities of health and other providers
- * Monitoring the progress of implementation