Better Hearts Better Cities

According to the World Health Organization, noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) kill 40 million people each year, equivalent to 70 percent of all deaths globally.

To help in the fight against NCDs, the Novartis Foundation launched the Better Hearts Better Cities initiative earlier this year to improve cardiovascular health in low-income urban communities by improving the control of hypertension as a key risk factor for cardiovascular disease. We are pleased to be an evaluation partner in this effort. As the global evaluation partner, we work with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to monitor progress and impact of the initiative.

Less than a year since its launch, the initiative has made significant progress in mobilizing a broad network of partners and developing a framework for action to improve cardiovascular health in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, and Dakar, Senegal, and will begin next year in São Paulo, Brazil, which was recently confirmed as a third implementation city. Learn more in today’s announcement from the Novartis Foundation.

Better Hearts Better Cities convenes networks of multisector partners—from health authorities to food suppliers to employers and city planners—to contribute expertise and resources to find solutions that improve cardiovascular health and enable healthy living and working conditions in cities.

Since launching in May 2017, the Better Hearts Better Cities initiative has achieved a number of key milestones, including targeted trainings on improving blood pressure measurement, hypertension diagnosis and patient empowerment for primary healthcare workers and pharmacists; the design and prototype of a hypertension registry; a digital infrastructure assessment with Intel; and the development of workplace programs for cardiovascular health in collaboration with employers. We are pleased to be partnering on and contributing to such important work. 

The Better Hearts Better Cities initiative offers vitally important goals for improving cardiovascular health in these select cities. It is our hope that the evaluation of this initiative, where our team has involvement, will provide critical data to multisector partners and help inform development of future tools to tackle cardiovascular disease in urban communities around the world.


Judy Monroe, MD, is president and CEO of the CDC Foundation.