Working Together to Address Global Cardiovascular Disease

We all know someone, a family member, friend or co-worker, who has suffered from cardiovascular disease (CVD). Today, CVD is a dangerous health threat across the globe.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), CVD is the leading cause of death worldwide. More people die each year from heart attacks and strokes than from any other cause. Most cardiovascular diseases can be prevented by addressing behavioral risk factors such as tobacco use, unhealthy diet, obesity and physical inactivity.

Blood pressure screening and treatment are also very important prevention measures. But screening alone won’t improve heart health. In order to improve blood pressure control on a population level, we must strengthen health systems. 

In recognition of World Hypertension Day today, we are pleased to highlight our effort to strengthen global cardiovascular health systems in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), WHO and Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies.

The Resolve to Save Lives’ Cardiovascular Health team focuses on promoting the exchange of information and technical expertise through the establishment and improvement of public health surveillance systems, laboratory testing and training to enhance public health initiatives globally. Specifically, the objectives of this project are accomplished using two approaches, technical exchange and health system quality, across three activities:

  • Increase surveillance and laboratory capacity to monitor artificial trans fat;
  • Increase surveillance capacity for monitoring and evaluation of sodium; and
  • Increase capacity to manage hypertension using the WHO HEARTS technical package modules and guide.

For more information on hypertension best practices and resources, please access this fact sheet. You can also access frequently asked questions about hypertension here.

I am proud to serve as a senior program officer on this project, supporting CDC, global partners and the donor. It is our hope that we will strengthen global cardiovascular systems through this critical work, so that we can lessen the burden of CVD for populations worldwide.



Rachel Powell Lewis, PhD, MPH, is a senior program officer for the CDC Foundation.