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2022 Annual Letter

March 2022

Dear Colleague,

Five years ago, I had the great privilege of launching Resolve to Save Lives, incubated at Vital Strategies. We started with a simple question: How do we save the most lives? In just five years, we’ve catalyzed initiatives to save four million lives and helped 15 countries in Africa find and stop outbreaks faster.

Today, we begin a new chapter as an independent, non-profit organization. In our next five years, our heart disease prevention programs will scale up with the goal of saving an additional 10 million lives. Years of in-depth work at local, national, and global levels have made us purpose-built to improve preparedness. RTSL had become a crucial resource in this now-or-never, Covid-created moment to improve global epidemic prevention.

To have the biggest impact, it all starts with one.

The best public health programs learn continuously and rapidly incorporate lessons to increase impact. Events of the past year have reinforced three key insights to me and to the team at RTSL, and will drive our work in the years ahead:

Fast action is crucial.

From measures blunting the impact of Covid to regulations eliminating trans fat, from laboratory improvements to scaling up effective diagnosis and treatment of hypertension, delays are deadly.

Partnerships are powerful.

No organization or institution working alone can make as much progress as a productive partnership. Effective policy recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO), funding from the World Bank and others, advocacy from civil society, scientific insights and excellence in public health implementation enabled the large-scale progress we describe here.

Effective communication saves lives.

In order to work with communities, engage and strengthen the public’s trust, and demonstrate to policymakers the benefit of public health action, effective communication is essential.

These fundamental concepts informed our work over the past year in our two focus areas: prevention of epidemics and the control of cardiovascular disease.


Covid has killed nearly 20 million people worldwide in just over two years. Most of these deaths could have been prevented if governments had supported public health systems and these systems had responded faster and more effectively. RTSL’s Prevent Epidemics team provides financial and technical support to improve Covid response efforts while strengthening preparedness for the next health threat. During the past year, we:


Every year, cardiovascular disease kills more people than all infectious diseases combined and twice as many as Covid at its deadliest. We are making substantial progress eliminating trans fat from the world and improving hypertension control. Trans fat is replaceable by healthier oils: After replacement, only your heart will know the difference.


Hypertension Treatment

Resolve to Save Lives brings life-saving programs to scale through rigorous science, meticulous management, and focused policy action. None of this progress would have been possible without the generous support of our donors, including: Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Gates Philanthropy Partners, funded with support from the Chan Zuckerberg Foundation, #StartSmall, and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. These funders recognize the power of rapid, flexible action to accelerate progress against under-addressed public health threats. For this I am deeply grateful.

In the next year, working with partners, RTSL will:

The healthier future we envisioned five years ago is taking shape. Our efforts and those of our partners are helping transform possibilities into reality. We are resolved to be a catalyst for a healthier future.

Thank you for being part of creating a healthier world.

Dr. Tom Frieden
President and CEO
Resolve to Save Lives

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