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Press releases

Health and Education Experts Weigh in on How Schools Can Maximize Health and Safety as They Look to Reopen

New York, USA - July 8, 2020 | Permalink

Dr. Tom Frieden, Former CDC Director and Resolve to Save Lives President, joined by bipartisan former U.S. Secretaries of Education Margaret Spellings and Arne Duncan and Philadelphia Schools Superintendent William R. Hite, Jr. to urge Americans to work together and support our children so schools can open more safely in the Fall

JULY 8, 2020 (New York)—Amid recent spikes in COVID-19 cases in much of the United States, school systems are grappling with whether and how to reopen for the 2020-2021 academic school year without clear public health guidance. Today, joined by some of the country’s top educational leaders, Dr. Tom Frieden, former CDC Director and President and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of the global health organization Vital Strategies, released an issue brief outlining global best practices and a summary of the most important questions and key considerations for administrators, parents and educators as schools prepare to reopen.

“Schools play an essential role in the health, educational and social development of children and in functioning of the economy,” said Dr. Frieden. “It’s not a matter of whether we reopen schools, it’s how. If we work together to stop the virus and support the school community, more students will be able to return to in-person learning more safely.”

Classes typically begin in early August in many southern states such as Florida, where infections appear to be on the rise.

Joined by former U.S. Secretaries of Education Arne Duncan and Margaret Spellings and Superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia William R. Hite, Jr. at a press briefing today, Dr. Frieden urged staff and educators to review CDC guidance, and calibrate their precautions according to the severity of the local epidemic, tightening restrictions when there is community spread and only relaxing them if there are few to no cases. In addition to the prevalence of the virus in the community, staff and educators must consider how many people gather together, in what proximity, over how much time, with what level of ventilation, and with what proportion wearing masks.

“The health of our students, teachers and staff must be our top priority, and public health expertise should guide our decision-making every step of the way,” said former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan who served from 2009-2015 under President Barack Obama.

“This guidance from Resolve seeks to fill a gap in public health information as education leaders begin to make important decisions,” said Margaret Spellings, who served as Secretary of Education between 2005-2009 under President George W. Bush.

“As the start of the school year approaches, there are many important decisions that need to be made and strategies that will need to be developed in order for us to prepare a plan for returning to schools. We are relying on the input and guidance from public health experts to ensure that our plan will provide the safest and healthiest plan for instruction and learning,” said William R. Hite, Jr., Ed.D., who has served as superintendent of The School District of Philadelphia, the largest public school system in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, since 2012.

The issue brief includes practical, evidence-based answers to many of the more difficult questions that are asked, including:

See more frequently asked questions and answers to them here and link to briefing recording here.

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Media Contacts:

Christina Honeysett, Vital Strategies: choneysett@vitalstrategies.org; +1.914.424.3356

Erin Sykes, Resolve to Save Lives: esykes@resolvetosavelives.org; +1.646.612.0001

Monica Guerrero, Chicago Cred: monica@chicagocred.com; +1.312.626.1138

Merrill Davis, Texas 2036: merrill.davis@texas2036.org; +1.469.384.2036

Monica Lewis, The School District of Philadelphia: mlewis4@philasd.org; +1.215.400.6581

About Dr. Tom Frieden

Dr. Tom Frieden is former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and former commissioner of the New York City Health Department. He is currently president and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, a global non-profit initiative which is part of the global non-profit Vital Strategies. @DrTomFrieden.

About Resolve to Save Lives

Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies, aims to prevent at least 100 million deaths from cardiovascular disease and epidemics. Through its Prevent Epidemics program, Resolve to Save Lives has rapidly leveraged existing networks to partner with countries throughout Africa and beyond to combat COVID-19. Resolve is led by Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and is part of the global health organization Vital Strategies. To find out more visit: https://www.resolvetosavelives.org or Twitter @ResolveTSL

Resolve to Save Lives created a website called PreventEpidemics.org that shows how prepared each country is for an epidemic, including COVID-19, and how many flights are coming and going from infected countries. This site is also a resource for current coronavirus statistics and resources.

About Vital Strategies

Vital Strategies is a global health organization that believes every person should be protected by a strong public health system. We work with governments and civil society in 73 countries to design and implement evidence-based strategies that tackle their most pressing public health problems. Our goal is to see governments adopt promising interventions at scale as rapidly as possible. To find out more, please visit www.vitalstrategies.org or Twitter @VitalStrat.

Stay in the know:Follow #KnowCOVID or www.preventepidemics.org or subscribe to Vital Strategies’ Twitter, Facebook or Instagram accounts.

Will Rollback of Public Health Measures Affect COVID-19 Spread? New Simulator Demonstrates How

New York, USA - July 1, 2020 | Permalink

Experts from Resolve to Save Lives and Earthrise Media developed a simulator to help guide national decisions on public health and social measures, including stay-at-home orders.


July 2, 2020—As countries around the world begin to lift COVID-19 public health and social measures (PHSMs) such as stay-at-home orders, many are experiencing a concerning rise in case counts and death. Leaving those measures in place, however, has serious social and economic consequences. A new online tool, Public Health and Social Measures Simulator, demonstrates how the timing of different combinations of PHSMs could affect disease spread.

Countries are forced to find the balance between responding swiftly to disease spread while minimizing the negative impact of interventions on individuals and communities,” said Amanda McClelland, Senior Vice President, Prevent Epidemics at Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies. “Our new simulator helps decision-makers assess the timing and the type of measures to turn on and off to reduce people’s risk from COVID-19.”

The simulator, now available on PreventEpidemics.org, allows users to select their region to find results tailored by location. All results demonstrate two critical points:

“As the pandemic accelerates in countries and cities across the world, decisions about how best to reduce transmission while also preventing social and economic disruption are more important than ever," said Christopher Lee, Senior Technical Advisor at Resolve to Save Lives. “Early action to implement public health and social measures in the COVID-19 pandemic helped curb the spread of COVID-19 in some regions, including Africa, but these measures cause substantial economic and societal strain. Policymakers need flexible tools, informed by the best available data, to allow them to make decisions that affect all of society, and the new simulator can be a useful tool for governments to rely upon.”

The simulator allows governments to anticipate the impact of implementing and releasing different measures, even in the absence of exact epidemiology data, which is often delayed. Users are able to assess the impact of common PHSMs, such as sheltering in place, closing schools, canceling mass gatherings and shielding the elderly, based on how long they are implemented. This tool also illustrates the policy options clearly. Notably, it shows that when testing, isolation, contact tracing and quarantine activities are effectively scaled up, societies can reopen safely.

Media Contacts:

Erin Sykes, Resolve to Save Lives: esykes@resolvetosavelives.org; +1.646.612.0001

Christina Honeysett, Vital Strategies: choneysett@vitalstrategies.org; +1.914.424.3356

About Resolve to Save Lives

Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of the global health organization Vital Strategies, is a five-year, $225 million initiative funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Gates Philanthropy Partners, which is funded with support from the Chan Zuckerberg Foundation. Resolve received additional funding from Bloomberg Philanthropies, the CDC Foundation and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation for the COVID-19 response. It is led by Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To find out more, visit: https://www.resolvetosavelives.org or Twitter @ResolveTSL

Resolve to Save Lives created a website called PreventEpidemics.org that shows how prepared each country is for an epidemic. This site is also a resource for current coronavirus statistics and resources.

About Vital Strategies

Vital Strategies is a global health organization that believes every person should be protected by a strong public health system. We work with governments and civil society in more than 70 countries to design and implement evidence-based strategies that tackle their most pressing public health problems. Our goal is to see governments adopt promising interventions at scale as rapidly as possible. To find out more, please visit www.vitalstrategies.org or Twitter @VitalStrat.

New Study Spotlights Critical Gap In Health Security: Protecting Health Care Workers

New York, USA - June 24, 2020 | Permalink

Researchers from Resolve to Save Lives and Johns Hopkins University identify practical steps countries can take to protect health workers, curb COVID-19 and prepare for future epidemics.

June 24, 2020—As health care workers of the world risk their lives on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response, their consistently elevated rates of infection suggest that countries are not doing enough to limit their risk. In “Assessing and Reducing Risk to Health Care Workers in Outbreaks,” a new paper published in the journal Health Security, a team of global health researchers and practitioners cite alarming evidence of insufficient protections for health care workers— in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, health care workers accounted for nearly one in five reported cases—and identify three practical steps countries can take now to improve health care worker safety. They include: prioritizing health care worker protection in global assessments of epidemic preparedness, developing protocols to rapidly evaluate protections in health facilities, and prioritizing access to personal protective equipment and treatment.

“Without health care workers, there is no health care,” said Amanda McClelland, registered nurse and Senior Vice President of the Prevent Epidemics program at Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies. “COVID-19 has confirmed that health care workers, who are on the front lines when it comes to stopping epidemics, are still among the most vulnerable. This jeopardizes global health security and weakens our ability to respond to future epidemics.”

Health care workers are put at elevated risk by deficiencies in health facility infrastructure (e.g. a lack of running water and electricity, or acceptable isolation wards); supplies (e.g. personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies); training; and preparedness measures.

“Governments and international organizations should treat health care workers like the scarce resource they are,” said Colby Wilkason, a Technical Advisor at Resolve to Save Lives and the paper’s lead author. “Losing health care workers should not be accepted as a tragic inevitability when investment in basic protections can save their lives as well as the people they care for.”

In studies of recent outbreaks of Ebola and Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome, a significant number of total cases were acquired in hospitals or other health care settings. Another concern is that infections among health care workers can lead to superspreading events in health facilities. One study of COVID-19 showed that up to 41% of patients in a hospital were infected due to transmission that occurred within the facility.

To better protect health care workers from infection and strengthen global capacity to respond to COVID-19 and future outbreaks, the paper’s authors recommend:

  1. Grading countries on their standards for the safe delivery of health care by integrating it into the way their epidemic preparedness is evaluated
  2. Developing protocols for countries to rapidly evaluate the preparedness of individual health facilities
  3. Prioritizing health care workers’ access to personal protective equipment and other preventive and treatments as they become available

Health care worker risk also has a ripple effect on population health. Fewer health care workers on the job due to illness or death, especially in places where they are already scarce, also deters patients from seeking care. One study estimated that the loss of health care workers to Ebola in West Africa in 2014-15 resulted in an additional 4,022 women dying in childbirth each subsequent year in the three most affected countries.

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Media Contacts:

Erin Sykes, Resolve to Save Lives: esykes@resolvetosavelives.org; +1.646.612.0001

Christina Honeysett, Vital Strategies: choneysett@vitalstrategies.org; +1.914.424.3356

About Resolve to Save Lives

Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of the global health organization, Vital Strategies, is a five-year, $225 million initiative funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Gates Philanthropy Partners, which is funded with support from the Chan Zuckerberg Foundation. Resolve received additional funding from Bloomberg Philanthropies, the CDC Foundation and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation for the COVID-19 response. It is led by Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, To find out more visit: https://www.resolvetosavelives.org or Twitter @ResolveTSL

Resolve to Save Lives created a website called PreventEpidemics.org that shows how prepared each country is for an epidemic. This site is also a resource for current coronavirus statistics and resources.

About Vital Strategies

Vital Strategies is a global health organization that believes every person should be protected by a strong public health system. We work with governments and civil society in more than 70 countries to design and implement evidence-based strategies that tackle their most pressing public health problems. Our goal is to see governments adopt promising interventions at scale as rapidly as possible. To find out more, please visit www.vitalstrategies.org or Twitter @VitalStrat.

Bloomberg Philanthropies COVID-19 Global Response Initiative Supports 31 African Countries to Expand Their Pandemic Containment and Provides Training for Nearly 6,000 Healthcare Workers

New York, USA - June 17, 2020 | Permalink

As COVID-19 continues to impact Africa, Bloomberg initiative also bolsters groundwork for future epidemic preparedness systems

In the three months since Bloomberg Philanthropies launched its $40 million COVID-19 Global Response Initiative, with partner Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies, 31 countries in Africa have been able to deepen and expand their public health efforts to minimize the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Bloomberg Philanthropies COVID-19 Global Response Initiative is not only supporting these countries in their efforts to contain COVID-19 within their borders, it is also investing in building public health systems to better respond to epidemics that will likely occur in the future.

“While many of the countries that were hit earliest by COVID-19 have seen their cases peak, many countries in Africa are just beginning to see a rapid increase in infections. That’s why Bloomberg Philanthropies is supporting efforts to strengthen the response across the continent, including training health care workers, expanding lab capacity, and bolstering public health systems. This urgently important work will reduce the burden on already overwhelmed health systems and save lives, especially in the most vulnerable communities,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and former three-term mayor of New York City.

Since the Bloomberg Philanthropies COVID-19 Global Response Initiative began, nearly 6,000 healthcare workers in Africa have been trained in infection control; laboratory capacity has been strengthened to test for infections in 10 countries; personal protective equipment and locally produced alcohol-based hand-rubs have been secured in nine countries; and trained contact tracing workforces have been significantly expanded in two dozen countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

In the past three months:

While ongoing activities in Africa have made significant progress in combatting COVID-19, many countries will continue to experience strain on their health systems, and cases may continue to rise. Sustained support and investment will help African countries manage the COVID-19 pandemic, while they simultaneously deal with other disease outbreaks and public health priorities.

“We are encouraged by the fast action and progress many countries in Africa have had, but we must stay vigilant. I am inspired by the dedication and the hard work health workers throughout Africa are doing to keep people safe, and we are committed to partnering not only for COVID-19, but also to prevent future health emergencies,” said Dr. Tom Frieden, President & CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies, and former Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Media Contacts:
Jean Weinberg, Bloomberg Philanthropies: jean@bloomberg.org; + 1.332.201.0508
Erin Sykes, Resolve to Save Lives: esykes@resolvetosavelives.org; +1.646.612.0001
Christina Honeysett, Vital Strategies: choneysett@vitalstrategies.org; +1.914.424.3356

About Bloomberg Philanthropies
Bloomberg Philanthropies invests in more than 570 cities and over 160 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: the Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s giving, including his foundation and personal philanthropy as well as Bloomberg Associates, a pro bono consultancy that works in cities around the world. In 2019, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $3.3 billion. For more information, please visit bloomberg.org or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and TikTok.

About Resolve to Save Lives
Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of the global health organization, Vital Strategies, is a five-year, $225 million initiative funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Gates Philanthropy Partners, which is funded with support from the Chan Zuckerberg Foundation. Resolve received additional funding from Bloomberg Philanthropies, the CDC Foundation and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation for the COVID-19 response. It is led by Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To find out more visit: https://www.resolvetosavelives.org or Twitter @ResolveTSL

Resolve to Save Lives created a website called PreventEpidemics.org that shows how prepared each country is for an epidemic. This site is also a resource for current coronavirus statistics and resources.

About Vital Strategies
Vital Strategies is a global health organization that believes every person should be protected by a strong public health system. We work with governments and civil society in 73 countries to design and implement evidence-based strategies that tackle their most pressing public health problems. Our goal is to see governments adopt promising interventions at scale as rapidly as possible. To find out more, please visit www.vitalstrategies.org or Twitter @VitalStrat.

Stay in the know: Follow #KnowCOVID or subscribe to Vital Strategies’ Twitter, Facebook or Instagram accounts.

New Contact Tracing Playbook Provides Guidance to Public Health Officials on Nationwide Efforts to Contain COVID-19

New York, USA - June 16, 2020 | Permalink

Resolve to Save Lives initiative at Vital Strategies Shares Technical Guidance, How-To’s, Templates, Tools

16 June 2020 (New York, NY) – As the COVID-19 pandemic response in the United States moves to a new stage of containment, Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies, announced the release of a new Contact Tracing Playbook to help cities, states, and counties establish trusted and effective contact tracing programs that will reduce the spread of the virus and save lives.

Contact tracing is an essential part of the Resolve-recommended Box It In strategy which consists of strategic testing, rapid isolation, complete contact tracing, and supportive quarantine. This is essential to slow transmission of the virus, which has been diagnosed in 2 million people nationwide and likely has infected millions more. A new workforce of thousands of contact tracers is launching in the US, overseen by state and local public health departments.

“Contact tracing is intense, difficult work, but our safety and economy depend on it,” said Dr. Tom Frieden, former CDC Director and President and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives. “A key to success will be using data in real time to continuously improve program performance and then sharing what we learn about what’s working and what’s not working.”

“Contact tracing is a proven public health strategy and one of our best bets to slow the pandemic and save lives,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and Bloomberg LP and three-term mayor of New York City. “Ramping up a contact tracing program can be challenging, but governments don’t have to reinvent the wheel. The new Resolve to Save Lives Playbook can help public health leaders act quickly to put contact tracing in place and limit the spread of COVID-19, which is why Bloomberg Philanthropies is supporting this critical effort.”

The new Contract Tracing Playbook provides technical guidance, checklists and easy-to-use templates that public health leaders can use to enhance contact tracing protocols and programs. Available through the Resolve to Save Lives website, the Playbook is aligned with contact tracing guidance released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, offering implementation tools to help jurisdictions rapidly implement contact tracing plans.

Michael Bloomberg announced that Bloomberg Philanthropies would support the development of a large-scale contact tracing program in New York State. Governor Cuomo partnered with Bloomberg Philanthropies, Johns Hopkins University, and Vital Strategies to quickly stand up a state-of-the-art contact tracing program where best practices are being developed and shared across the country including in the new Contact Tracing Playbook. Bloomberg Philanthropies committed $10.5 million, as well as organizational support and technical assistance, to help build and execute the program.

The Playbook includes sample job descriptions, sample forms and scripts, protocols for contact tracing in group settings (e.g., restaurants and events), a simple excel-based staffing calculator, template scopes of work for setting up essential supports for people while in isolation and quarantine, fact sheets and community engagement guides, as well as draft priority indicators to guide continuous program improvement. The Playbook will also help public health departments navigate privacy and human rights issues and provide risk communication guidance to guide communications with the public about the importance of contact tracing to control COVID-19 spread.

Although the COVID-19 virus is new, contact tracing is a well-established and proven public health tool that relies on trust, data, clear communication, community engagement and public support. Contact tracing is a human-to-human effort, not a computer-based or phone tracking system. The thousands of tracers’ primary responsibility is to be empathic and respect patient privacy. Tracers will identify, notify and interview cases and provide instructions for isolation. They will also locate and warn contacts and then monitor those contacts as well as provide access to needed support.

The Playbook will be regularly updated and revised as new learnings are generated. It is designed to elicit feedback and share emerging knowledge generated by public health authorities, community providers, epidemiologists, and others involved in contact tracing. As it is updated, it will also offer health departments messaging and scripts they need to help individual communities better understand and support public health efforts. The Playbook will also link to technological solutions for managing workflow and making the contact tracing process more efficient and effective.

“Contact tracing is part of a four-pillar Box-it-in strategy of COVID-19 containment and control,” explains Daliah Heller, a director with Vital Strategies supporting the US contact tracing effort. “Expand and prioritize testing; isolate infected people to prevent disease spread; identify contacts who infected people may have exposed; and quarantine contacts. Each of the four is crucial to prevent the virus from spreading explosively again. Success requires urgent expansion of our public health capacity.”

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Media Contacts:

Erin Sykes, Resolve to Save Lives: esykes@resolvetosavelives.org; +1.646.612.0001
Christina Honeysett, Vital Strategies: choneysett@vitalstrategies.org; +1.914.424.3356

About Resolve to Save Lives

Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of the global health organization, Vital Strategies, is a five-year, $225 million initiative funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Gates Philanthropy Partners, which is funded with support from the Chan Zuckerberg Foundation. Resolve received additional funding from Bloomberg Philanthropies, the CDC Foundation and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation for the COVID-19 response. It is led by Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, To find out more visit: https://www.resolvetosavelives.org or Twitter @ResolveTSL

Resolve to Save Lives created a website called PreventEpidemics.org that shows how prepared each country is for an epidemic. This site is also a resource for current coronavirus statistics and resources.

About Vital Strategies

Vital Strategies is a global health organization that believes every person should be protected by a strong public health system. We work with governments and civil society in 73 countries to design and implement evidence-based strategies that tackle their most pressing public health problems. Our goal is to see governments adopt promising interventions at scale as rapidly as possible. To find out more, please visit www.vitalstrategies.org or Twitter @VitalStrat. Stay in the know: Follow #KnowCOVID or subscribe to Vital Strategies’ Twitter, Facebook or Instagram accounts.

Former CDC Director and Resolve to Save Lives President and CEO, Dr. Tom Frieden, Warns of COVID-19 Data Myths and Misuses, Outlines Metrics that Matter

New York, USA - June 11, 2020 | Permalink

“Armchair epidemiology” endangering efforts to get epidemic under control

11 June 2020 – With the exponential rise in collection of COVID-19 data, experts warn of its misuse. Today, Dr. Tom Frieden, former CDC Director and President and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of the global health organization Vital Strategies, held a press briefing along with other epidemiology experts, outlining COVID-19 data misconceptions and metrics that matter to guide public health officials.

“What gets measured, matters. Lots of COVID-19 data that get attention are either inaccurate, partial, or misleading,” said Dr. Tom Frieden, President and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies. “Collected, analyzed, and disseminated correctly, data can save lives and help restore livelihoods.”

The number of data sources for COVID-19 has surged with the virus. These data are informing public health decisions as communities work to get the epidemic under control and reopen. Resolve scanned best practices from around the world and identified what metrics governments, and reporters, can prioritize and pay close attention to as we fight the virus.

At a press briefing today, Dr. Frieden outlined 11 misconceptions about COVID-19 data and ways public health officials can better interpret the data for critical decision-making.

Among the myths outlined and debunked by Dr. Frieden and colleagues are:

  1. Myth: Case counts and trends are enough to monitor COVID-19 spread.
    Reality: Trends in the counts of cases, even those adjusted for population, are insufficient to fully understand the disease situation. It is critical to understand the actual intensity and distribution of viral infection, the level of testing, and the number of susceptible people over time.
  2. Myth: Case incidence is always a good indicator of community risk.
    Reality: The number of new (incident) cases in a population does not always reflect the risk of transmission in a community. The main reason is that the composition or distribution of these cases may be very different, even if the overall total is the same.
  3. Myth: COVID-19 deaths are an indicator of the current situation.
    Reality: Because the average lag between symptom onset and death and reporting is about a month, deaths are not a useful early indicator for monitoring whether the disease situation is worsening or improving today.
  4. Myth: COVID-19 deaths are the only indicator of COVID-19-related mortality.
    Reality: COVID-19 deaths are underestimated for several reasons, including limited testing leading to underdetection of those infected and deaths occurring in the community which may not be attributed to COVID-19.
  5. Myth: Mobility indicators—data from mobile phones—are a direct indicator of risk.
    Reality: Mobility data reflect trends in frequency and distance of travel but not much about high-risk behaviors, such as being in close contact with someone for an extended period of time indoors.
  6. Myth: Reproductive number (R) – how many people each case infects – is all you need to know about disease transmission.
    Reality: There is no one standard way to estimate R, estimates typically have a large amount of uncertainty and wide range, and lag by 1-2 weeks or more.
  7. Myth: Symptom-based screening is adequate to protect every population.
    Reality: The lack of symptoms does not imply a lack of infectiousness.
  8. Myth: Hospital and ICU bed capacity are the most useful metrics for capturing health care system readiness.
    Reality: Hospital occupancy changes with seasonality, rising during influenza season and falling in other months, and changing with bed availability
  9. Myth: Test positivity is all you need to know about the state of COVID-19 testing.
    Reality: This metric is useful in understanding whether or not a location is testing enough people to detect cases, regardless of the size of the outbreak. However, the positivity rate is not sufficient to understand testing for many reasons, including because it does not tell you whether high-risk people are getting tested.
  10. Myth: The most significant health impacts of the pandemic are directly related to COVID-19.
    Reality: As in prior disease outbreaks, in many communities, the largest health impacts of COVID-19 may not be among those directly affected with the disease, but in the secondary disruptions of essential health services and public health programs, especially in lower-income countries. In the COVID-19 pandemic, disruptions have undermined communicable disease control programs, immunization activities, reproductive and maternal and child health activities, and non-communicable disease management.
  11. Myth: Everyone is an epidemiologist.
    Reality: Anyone should be able to understand well-conducted epidemiological investigations and analyses. But doing epidemiology safely and well – like doing open heart surgery or architecture well – requires specialized skills and years of experience.

“It’s important to know the limitations and implications of data and how to use well-analyzed data to produce a more accurate picture of what’s happening,” said Cyrus Shahpar, a medical epidemiologist and Director of the Resolve to Save Lives Prevent Epidemics initiative, who joined Dr. Frieden at the press briefing.

“COVID-19 deaths are underestimated. Understanding how current death totals—from all causes—compare to historical averages can provide critical insight into the true scope of the pandemic and inform lifesaving policies,” said Dr. Philip Setel, the Vice President of Civil Registration and Vital Statistics at Vital Strategies.

In addition to outlining these common data misinterpretations, Dr. Frieden and his team listed some important metrics that matter that governments and communities should using to guide their COVID-19 response including:

  1. The number of unlinked infections
  2. Isolation of patients within 3 days of symptom onset
  3. The proportion of cases arising among quarantined contacts
  4. The number of health care worker infections
  5. Trends in excess mortality
  6. Where and how the virus is spreading in each community

Drs. Frieden and Shahpar also noted important findings in the Weekly Science Review by Resolve to Save Lives:

“Collected, analyzed and used to improve programs well, epidemiology can guide us through this public health crisis. The best public health programs use real-time data to continuously improve measures to stop the spread of infection,” added Dr. Frieden.

To watch the full video from today’s media briefing, click here.

Join Dr. Tom Frieden on Friday, June 12 at 11:15 AM EST for a LinkedIn Live conversation on what employers can do to ensure a safe and healthy work environment during the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit: www.linkedin.com/in/tom-frieden/

Media Contacts:

Christina Honeysett, Vital Strategies: choneysett@vitalstrategies.org; +1.914.424.3356
Erin Sykes, Resolve to Save Lives: esykes@resolvetosavelives.org ; +1.646.612.0001

About Dr. Tom Frieden

Dr. Tom Frieden is former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and former commissioner of the New York City Health Department. He is currently president and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, a global non-profit initiative funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and part of the global non-profit Vital Strategies. Resolve to Save Lives works with countries to prevent 100 million deaths and to make the world safer from epidemics. @DrTomFrieden

About Resolve to Save Lives

Resolve to Save Lives is a five-year, $225 million initiative funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Gates Philanthropy Partners, which is funded with support from the Chan Zuckerberg Foundation. Resolve received additional funding from Bloomberg Philanthropies, the CDC Foundation and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation for the COVID-19 response. It is led by Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and is part of the global organization Vital Strategies. To find out more visit: https://www.resolvetosavelives.org or Twitter @ResolveTSL

Resolve to Save Lives created a website called PreventEpidemics.org that shows how prepared each country is for an epidemic. This site is also a resource for current coronavirus statistics and resources.

About Vital Strategies

Vital Strategies is a global health organization that believes every person should be protected by a strong public health system. We work with governments and civil society in 73 countries to design and implement evidence-based strategies that tackle their most pressing public health problems. Our goal is to see governments adopt promising interventions at scale as rapidly as possible. To find out more, please visit www.vitalstrategies.org or Twitter @VitalStrat.

Stay in the know: Follow #KnowCOVID or subscribe to Vital Strategies’ Twitter, Facebook or Instagram accounts.

Dr. Tom Frieden on new COVID Alert System to Protect Health, Promote Economic Growth and Reduce the Risks of Reopening During the COVID Pandemic

New York, USA - May 20, 2020 | Permalink

Summary of alert-level systems for COVID-19 based on experience from U.S. and around the world

(New York, NY May 20, 2020) – COVID-19 is a long-term threat to public health, with most experts predicting waves of infection until there is a vaccine or highly effective treatment. “Staying Alert: Navigating COVID-19 Risk Toward a New Normal” recommends that governments implement a four-tiered, color-coded level system that grades the current state of risk from red, “4-Very High Risk,” to green, “1-New Normal.” The report was released today by Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of the global health organization Vital Strategies, based on an intensive review of the best practices in countries around the world and states in the U.S.

Levels are based on publicly available, critically important data, have objective triggers, and provide practical, actionable information to guide policies and behaviors at each level. The color and numerical coding also communicates risk-level information clearly, similar to the types of warning systems used for weather and air quality. Although no single system is appropriate for every setting, if designed and implemented well, alert-level systems protect health while enabling social and economic activity to resume.

“We’re at an inflection point in the COVID-19 pandemic response. Cases are coming down and people are going out,” said Dr. Tom Frieden, President and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives. “If governments use a graded, objective, transparent alert system they can protect both health and the economy in the different phases of the pandemic. Our ‘Staying Alert: Navigating COVID-19 Risk Toward a New Normal’ report outlines a system governments use to empower people to protect themselves and their families.”

“People should expect routine, clear and data-driven guidance on the changing levels of risk and how to respond. A color-coded alert system for COVID-19 empowers the public and inspires confidence,” said Amanda McClelland, Senior Vice President for the Prevent Epidemics team at Resolve to Save Lives. “In the not-too-distant future, knowing that this is a week to wear your mask should be as easy and straightforward as bringing an umbrella to work on a rainy day.”

Based on a first-of-its-kind comparison of alert-level systems, “Staying Alert: Navigating COVID-19 Risk Toward a New Normal” provides a four-tiered framework for governments to adopt to support clear decision-making, improve accountability and transparency, and communicate with the public to ensure needed behavior change. In addition to highlighting key principles and features of effective alert-level systems, the report provides a reference for the strong datasets that must support such a system, notes that the best systems are developed with the involvement of a wide set of stakeholders, and provides a list of pitfalls and how to avoid them.

“The recommendations in ‘Staying Alert: Navigating COVID-19 Risk Toward a New Normal’ lean on decades of practice in the field of risk and crisis communication,” said Sandra Mullin, Senior Vice President for Policy, Advocacy and Communication at Vital Strategies. “Our ‘new normal’ will require governments to convey changing and complex COVID-19 information to the public. A systematic alert system is a lifesaving intervention that can break this down into easy-to-understand and easy-to-follow guidelines for the public.”

To bolster this alert system, a collaboration of expert partners supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies will soon roll out tools to help city leaders better manage their responses to these alert levels. What Works Cities, working closely with Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health, Vital Strategies and other collaborators, will develop and share metrics that city leaders can use to nimbly govern their cities as the crisis evolves.

The report highlights the features of alert-level systems that several governments have adopted. South Africa’s Risk Adjusted Strategy provides details on how restrictions will be loosened and tightened in each economic sector, using epidemiologic and fiscal data to guide these changes. Other systems use economic and social indicators when determining the level, such as the system in effect in the state of Utah in the U.S.. Singapore’s Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (DORSCON) applies to any disease outbreak and provides messaging to the public, and New Zealand’s COVID-19 Alert System focuses specifically on COVID-19.

For more information and to download “Staying Alert: Navigating COVID-19 Risk Toward a New Normal,” visit: https://preventepidemics.org/covid19/resources/levels


About Resolve to Save Lives

Resolve to Save Lives is a five-year, $225 million initiative funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Gates Philanthropy Partners, which is funded with support from the Chan Zuckerberg Foundation. Resolve received additional funding from Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and the CDC Foundation for the COVID-19 response. It is led by Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and is part of the global organization Vital Strategies. To find out more visit: https://www.resolvetosavelives.org or Twitter @ResolveTSL

Resolve to Save Lives created a website called PreventEpidemics.org that shows how prepared each country is for an epidemic, including COVID-19, and how many flights are coming and going from infected countries. This site is also a resource for current coronavirus statistics and resources.

About Vital Strategies

Vital Strategies is a global health organization that believes every person should be protected by a strong public health system. We work with governments and civil society in 73 countries to design and implement evidence-based strategies that tackle their most pressing public health problems. Our goal is to see governments adopt promising interventions at scale as rapidly as possible. To find out more, please visit www.vitalstrategies.orgor Twitter @VitalStrat.

Media Contacts

Christina Honeysett, Vital Strategies; choneysett@vitalstrategies.org; +1-914-424-3356

Erin Sykes, Resolve to Save Lives, esykes@vitalstrategies.org; +1-646-612-0001

New Report Provides African Governments Real-Time Information and Guidance to Find the Balance in COVID-19 Response

New York, USA - May 5, 2020 | Permalink

Real-time data from 20 African countries drives prevention guidelines to save lives

5 May 2020 (New York) – Member states across Africa responded quickly to COVID-19 with public health and social measures (PHSM), including curfews and lockdowns, as well as training in laboratory diagnostics, surveillance, risk communication, infection prevention and control, and case management conducted by the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO) and other partners. Implementing these early policies helped curb the rapid spread of infection across the continent, but response to the virus is a marathon, not a sprint. Member states now must find a balance between reducing transmission while preventing social and economic disruption.

“We knew that COVID-19 was a significant threat to Africa, so we started addressing it very early. We convened an emergency meeting of Africa health ministers, which endorsed the Africa Joint Continental Strategy for COVID-19. Because of the early political engagement there was a continent-wide awareness and alertness to prepare the countries,” said Dr John Nkengasong, Director of Africa CDC,”

As member states consider these complex trade-offs, a new report released today is putting real-time data about health and public sentiment into the hands of decision-makers. The Responding to COVID-19 in Africa: Using Data to Find a Balance report includes first-of-its-kind data to adapt COVID-19 pandemic response to local needs and capacities in Africa.

Using Data to Find a Balance, developed by Africa CDC, the WHO, Ipsos, Vital StrategiesResolve to Save Lives initiative, the UK Public Health Rapid Support Team, Novetta Mission Analytics and the World Economic Forum provides data and guidance to governments as they move toward a long-term response: use data to make informed decisions, adapt local measures as the pandemic and public perceptions evolve, and mitigate adverse effects by focusing on protecting the most vulnerable populations.

“This report highlights the large information gaps on COVID-19 which exist in Africa and threaten response efforts,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. “The findings of this report, along with COVID-19 trend data, will help countries make strategic decisions on relaxing their lockdowns. What we’ve learnt from Ebola and other outbreaks is that countries need to decentralize the response to the community level and increase their capacity to identify and diagnose cases.”

Key findings in the report include:

Recommendations include that governments:

The report notes the disruptions caused by public health social measures, which are designed to stop the spread of COVID-19, and the importance of preserving wellbeing, economic livelihoods and social stability. Using Data to Find a Balance also includes recommendations for governments to prioritize rapidly enhancing public health capacity to test, trace, isolate and treat people infected with the virus, making the most of the time that early intervention with PHSM has provided.

“Governments have had to make difficult decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Shelter-in-place measures can prevent infection but may limit access to food and essential services,” said Dr. Tom Frieden, President and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies. Dr. Frieden, the former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention added, “By using data, governments can find the right balance and adapt lifesaving policies to the local context.”

“Governments cannot rely on guesswork or instinct to combat COVID-19 – they need data,” said Dr. Darrell Bricker, CEO, Ipsos Public Affairs. “Many preventive measures taken elsewhere in the world must be adapted to the local context; we are proud to be a part of this extraordinary effort to provide real-time, Africa-specific data so that decision-makers can adapt their COVID-19 response based on data that is specific to their country.”

“The most successful response to COVID-19 in Africa must consider context and adaptability, and must be data-driven. With the release of Using Data to Find a Balance report, governments throughout Africa now have access to country-specific policy recommendations, and the data to guide their response to COVID-19 in the most effective and responsible manner,” said Dr Nkengasong.

PERC conducted surveys across 28 cities in 20 African member states to assess the impact the crisis was already having on populations, and people’s attitudes toward PHSMs being implemented. The report includes a regional analysis accompanied by individual country briefs to provide the most relevant data and recommendations to local decision-makers. As the pandemic evolves, further waves of research are planned to provide real-time updates that reflect current response efforts, changes to people’s perceptions, and timely recommendations and guidance.

“Understanding the need for data to guide the pandemic response across Africa, the World Economic Forum is proud to have facilitated this private-public partnership,” said Arnaud Bernaert, Head of Health and Healthcare, World Economic Forum. “It is important for governments, businesses and civil society to have the latest data and case studies available to make the best decisions possible in this global crisis.”

This report was produced by the Partnership for Evidence-Based Response to COVID-19 (PERC), a public-private partnership that supports evidence-based measures to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on African countries. PERC member organizations are Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies, the UK Public Health Rapid Support Team and the World Economic Forum. WHO and Africa CDC are providing technical leadership and ensuring that new evidence is quickly adopted by Member States to adjust their COVID-19 response interventions. Ipsos and Novetta Mission Analytics bring market research expertise and years of data analytic support to the partnership.

To read the full report, please visit: https://preventepidemics.org/coronavirus/perc/

About Africa CDC

Africa CDC is a specialized technical institution of the African Union that strengthens the capacity and capability of Africa’s public health institutions as well as partnerships to detect and respond quickly and effectively to disease threats and outbreaks, based on data-driven interventions and programmes. Learn more at: http://www.africacdc.org

About the World Health Organization (WHO)

The World Health Organization contributes to a better future for people everywhere. Good health lays the foundation for vibrant and productive communities, stronger economies, safer nations and a better world. As the lead health authority within the United Nations system, our work touches people’s lives around the world every day. In Africa, WHO serves Member States and works with development partners to improve the health and well-being of all people living here. The WHO Regional Office for Africa is located in Brazzaville, Congo. Learn more at www.afro.who.int and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

About Resolve to Save Lives

Resolve to Save Lives is a five-year, $225 million initiative funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Gates Philanthropy Partners, which is funded with support from the Chan Zuckerberg Foundation. Resolve received additional funding from Bloomberg Philanthropies for the COVID-19 response. It is led by Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and is part of the global organization Vital Strategies. To find out more visit: https://www.resolvetosavelives.org or Twitter @ResolveTSL

Resolve to Save Lives created a website called PreventEpidemics.org that shows how prepared each country is for an epidemic, including COVID-19, and how many flights are coming and going from infected countries. This site is also a resource for current coronavirus statistics and resources.

About Vital Strategies

Vital Strategies is a global health organization that believes every person should be protected by a strong public health system. We work with governments and civil society in 73 countries to design and implement evidence-based strategies that tackle their most pressing public health problems. Our goal is to see governments adopt promising interventions at scale as rapidly as possible. To find out more, please visit www.vitalstrategies.org or Twitter @VitalStrat.

About Ipsos

Ipsos is the third largest market research company in the world, present in 90 markets and employing more than 18,000 people. Our passionately curious research professionals, analysts and scientists have built unique multi- specialist capabilities that provide true understanding and powerful insights into the actions, opinions and motivations of citizens, consumers, patients, customers or employees. Our 75 business solutions are based on primary data coming from our surveys, social media monitoring, and qualitative or observational techniques. “Game Changers” – our tagline – summarises our ambition to help our 5,000 clients navigate with confidence our world of rapid change.

Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos is listed on the Euronext Paris since 1 July 1999. The company is part of the SBF 120 and the Mid-60 index and is eligible for the Deferred Settlement Service (SRD). ISIN code FR0000073298, Reuters ISOS.PA, Bloomberg IPS:FP https://www.ipsos.com/en/news-and-polls/overview.

About the World Economic Forum

The World Economic Forum is the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation. In response to the COVID-19 emergency, the World Economic Forum, acting as partner to the World Health Organization (WHO), launched the COVID Action Platform. The platform is intended to catalyse private-sector support for the global public health response to COVID-19, and to do so at the scale and speed required to protect lives and livelihoods, aiming to find ways to help end the global emergency as soon as possible. For more information, visit: https://www.weforum.org/

Media Contacts:

James Ayodele, Principal Communication Officer, Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC). Email: Ayodelej@africa-union.org; Tel: +251 11 551 7700

Collins Boakye-Agyemang, Communications Officer, WHO Regional Office for Africa. Email: boakyeagyemangc@who.int; Tel: +4724139420 or +242065206565

Christina Honeysett, Director of PR, Vital Strategies. Email: CHoneysett@vitalstrategies.org; Tel: +1 914 424 3356

Dr. Darrell Bricker, CEO, Ipsos Public Affairs. Email: Darrell.bricker@ipsos.com; Tel: +14165098460

Amanda Russo, Head of Media Content, World Economic Forum. Email: Amanda.Russo@weforum.org; Tel: +1 415 734 0589

New Interactive Playbook Provides Critical Tool for World’s Public Health Decision-makers to Manage and Adapt COVID-19 Responses

New York, USA - April 24, 2020 | Permalink

Online tool synthesizes guidance documents and best practices from WHO, US CDC, and Africa CDC and links them to where countries are in the disease curve

The Prevent Epidemics Team at Resolve to Save Lives announced today the launch of their new interactive COVID-19 Playbook, a resource to help public health policymakers and other decision-makers around the world manage and adapt their countries’ COVID-19 responses as they move through different phases of the disease curve—from response to recovery.


“The World Health Organization, US CDC and Africa CDC are producing important and useful guidance,” said Dr. Tom Frieden, former CDC Director and President and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of the global health organization Vital Strategies. “Our team has created a tool that brings these recommendations and best practices together and helps countries apply them at different phases as the pandemic spreads. It’s meant to complement these efforts as a one-stop entry point and provides links to guidance developed by expert organizations including the WHO. The playbook also has an essential checklist which is a great resource for any country and any state or province to determine if they are doing what they need to do to protect their people.”

The tool features a user guide, glossary, COVID-19 response essential checklist, and an interactive adaptive response graphic that links to key principles and high-yield tools tailored to different phases of the disease curve. The tools and principles are organized into the following categories:

The Prevent Epidemics team’s technical experts will update the Playbook regularly as new guidance on COVID-19 is released and new examples of successful implementation are documented.

“The COVID-19 Playbook will serve as a living, dynamic document,” said Dr. Cyrus Shahpar, Director of the Prevent Epidemics Team. “Countries are tracking the transmission of disease closely. Based on disease trends and healthcare system capacity, they will now be able to tell where they are on the disease curve and look to appropriate guidance. We can also help them identify useful metrics to better understand where they are in the course of the pandemic.”

The Resolve to Save Lives team at Vital Strategies is working directly with countries to support their COVID-19 response, including supporting health care workers with infection prevention and control, providing rapid response funds to allow countries to quickly mobilize funds for critical activities, conducting polling on what intervention measures are acceptable where, and more. PreventEpidemics.org where the COVID-19 Playbook is hosted, is the world’s first website to provide clear and concise country-level data on epidemic preparedness and the ability to find, stop, and prevent epidemics.

Media Contacts:

Christina Honeysett, Vital Strategies: choneysett@vitalstrategies.org; +1.914.424.3356

Erin Sykes, Resolve to Save Lives: esykes@resolvetosavelives.org; +1.646.612.0001

About Resolve to Save Lives

Resolve to Save Lives is a five-year, $225 million initiative funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Gates Philanthropy Partners, which is funded with support from the Chan Zuckerberg Foundation. Resolve received additional funding from Bloomberg Philanthropies for the COVID-19 response. It is led by Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and is part of the global organization Vital Strategies. To find out more visit: https://www.resolvetosavelives.org or Twitter @ResolveTSL

Resolve to Save Lives created a website called PreventEpidemics.org that shows how prepared each country is for an epidemic, including COVID-19, and how many flights are coming and going from infected countries. This site is also a resource for current coronavirus statistics and resources.

About Vital Strategies

Vital Strategies is a global health organization that believes every person should be protected by a strong public health system. We work with governments and civil society in 73 countries to design and implement evidence-based strategies that tackle their most pressing public health problems. Our goal is to see governments adopt promising interventions at scale as rapidly as possible. To find out more, please visit www.vitalstrategies.org or Twitter @VitalStrat.

Stay in the know: Follow #KnowCOVID or subscribe to Vital Strategies’ Twitter, Facebook or Instagram accounts.
Clear Criteria Must Be Met Before Gradually Reopening After COVID-19 Outbreaks

New York, USA - April 1, 2020 | Permalink

Resolve to Save Lives Public Health experts Dr. Tom Frieden, Dr. Cyrus Shahpar, and Amanda McClelland, RN briefed reporters on benchmarks that communities in the United States and world must urgently reach before we can “loosen the faucet” as safely as possible and “not allow the floodgates to reopen”

Today, Dr. Tom Frieden, President and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of global public health organization Vital Strategies, briefed reporters on the criteria that must be urgently met to reopen society in the next phase of the COVID-19 response.

During the briefing, Dr. Frieden said, “It’s not about when we can reopen, but what we have to do to make that day come sooner. A key concept here is that we need to reopen the faucet gradually, not allow the floodgates to reopen. This is not a time to wait, it is time to work.”

“This is an emergency and we need to act with urgency to ready our public health and healthcare systems,” Dr. Frieden continued. “It’s a question of short-term economic pain for long term economic and health gains. But for this to happen we can’t just wait for cases to ebb; we must URGENTLY meet benchmarks so we can loosen the faucet as soon and as safely as possible. It’s not about WHEN we can reopen, but WHAT we have to do to make that day come sooner.”

Dr. Frieden concluded that, “This is World War C – we’re in a battle with coronavirus. We all have a role to play to protect our healthcare workers and each other. Decisions to reopen society should not be about a date but about the data – and today we have suggested clear criteria and triggers to follow.”

Dr. Frieden was joined by senior members of Resolve’s Prevent Epidemics team, Senior Vice President Amanda McClelland and Director Dr. Cyrus Shahpar, who reviewed the evidence base for reopening after experiencing a large increase of COVID-19 cases.

Together, they outlined criteria in three key areas to help communities know when and how to close and reopen due to COVID-19 spread. These include:

Even when the criteria are met, older and medically vulnerable people will likely need to shelter for longer. Communities can partially reopen businesses, such as daycares so people can get back to work, as long as people continue to wash their hands, stay home when sick and isolate if they are confirmed to have COVID-19

Dr. Shahpar outlined which triggers would indicate a reversal in progress. “If cases increase significantly, communities will need to implement physical distancing restrictions again and work on flattening the curve. There could be a series of closures and re-openings while we wait and hope for treatments and vaccines,” he said.

The team at Resolve to Save Lives and Vital Strategies are also working with countries throughout Africa and beyond—61 countries—to help flatten the curve by providing practical information and tools to enhance local efforts to combat COVID-19 and share best practices.

“Implementing restrictions in low- and middle-income countries is difficult,” said Amanda McClelland. “For many, staying home and not going to the market means choosing to starve. It’s critical local leaders listen to their community and adapt to their environment to minimize risk of exposure but also ensure basic needs are met.”

Resolve to Save Lives’ Prevent Epidemics team, which she leads, is partnering with countries on tracking the virus and its impact on communities, as well as rapid action to minimize both viral spread and social disruption.

Dr. Frieden closed the briefing with this call to action: “We all have a role to play to protect our healthcare workers and each other. Decisions to reopen must be less about a date and more about data. If this virus is not controlled everywhere, we will be much less safe.”

For a recording of the briefing, visit this link.

To view the slide on containment and mitigation efforts discussed during the briefing, visit this link.


Media Contacts:

Christina Honeysett, Vital Strategies: choneysett@vitalstrategies.org; +1.914.424.3356

Erin Sykes, Resolve to Save Lives: esykes@resolvetosavelives.org; +1.646.612.0001


About Dr. Tom Frieden

Dr. Tom Frieden is former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and former commissioner of the New York City Health Department. He is currently president and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, a global non-profit initiative funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and part of the global non-profit Vital Strategies. Resolve to Save Lives works with countries to prevent 100 million deaths and to make the world safer from epidemics. @DrTomFrieden.


About Resolve to Save Lives

Resolve to Save Lives is a five-year, $225 million initiative funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Gates Philanthropy Partners, which is funded with support from the Chan Zuckerberg Foundation. Resolve received additional funding from Bloomberg Philanthropies for the COVID-19 response. It is led by Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and is part of the global organization Vital Strategies. To find out more visit: https://www.resolvetosavelives.org or Twitter @ResolveTSL

Resolve to Save Lives created a website called PreventEpidemics.org that shows how prepared each country is for an epidemic, including COVID-19, and how many flights are coming and going from infected countries. This site is also a resource for current coronavirus statistics and resources.


About Vital Strategies

Vital Strategies is a global health organization that believes every person should be protected by a strong public health system. We work with governments and civil society in 73 countries to design and implement evidence-based strategies that tackle their most pressing public health problems. Our goal is to see governments adopt promising interventions at scale as rapidly as possible. To find out more, please visit www.vitalstrategies.org or Twitter @VitalStrat.

Stay in the know: Follow #KnowCOVID or subscribe to Vital Strategies’ Twitter, Facebook or Instagram accounts.

Former CDC Director and Resolve to Save Lives President and CEO, Dr. Tom Frieden, Urges New York City Residents with Mild Symptoms Not to Seek Care or Get Tested at This Time

New York, USA - March 27, 2020 | Permalink

27 March 2020 – Today, Dr. Tom Frieden, President and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies, a global health organization headquartered in New York, released the following statement urging New York City Residents with mild symptoms not to seek care or get tested at this time:

“If you’re in New York and you have some of the symptoms of COVID-19 such as cough and fever, I urge you not to get tested if those symptoms are only mild. Every non-essential test delays tests and uses scarce protective equipment needed for someone who is very sick. This means that soon healthcare workers may not have necessary safety equipment, including masks, to treat hospitalized patients.

On the other hand, if you are short of breath with cough and fever, definitely seek care, and do so safely. Call ahead. Cover your mouth and nose with a mask, scarf, bandana, or other piece of clothing.

Why not get tested if you have mild symptoms? Six reasons. If you’re only mildly ill and get tested:

1. You use up medical equipment and tests others need more.

2. You might infect others as you travel to and seek care.

3. If you don’t have the infection, you could get it in the process of traveling and getting tested, especially since health care gets less safe when more people are waiting for it — including people with only mild symptoms.

4. It’s not going to change what you should do: Stay home and isolate yourself. Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 should be assumed to have it. The test result won’t change what you or your doctor do.

5. The test can be negative even if you have the virus, leading you to infect others if you don’t stay isolated.

6. Right now, testing positive won’t lead to useful action or meaningful data: The Health Department won’t be able to trace your contacts or confirm where you were infected because too many people are positive, and because this would not be as important in fighting COVID-19 at present than other urgent work, including preventing and stopping outbreaks in nursing homes and hospitals.”

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About Dr. Tom Frieden

Dr. Tom Frieden is former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and former commissioner of the New York City Health Department. He is currently president and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, a global non-profit initiative funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and part of the global non-profit Vital Strategies. Resolve to Save Lives works with countries to prevent 100 million deaths and to make the world safer from epidemics. @DrTomFrieden.

About Resolve to Save Lives

Resolve to Save Lives is a five-year, $225 million initiative funded byBloomberg Philanthropies, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Gates Philanthropy Partners, which is funded with support from the Chan Zuckerberg Foundation. It is led by Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and is part of the global organization Vital Strategies. To find out more visit:https://www.resolvetosavelives.org or Twitter @ResolveTSL

About Vital Strategies

Vital Strategies is a global health organization that believes every person should be protected by a strong public health system. We work with governments and civil society in 73 countries to design and implement evidence-based strategies that tackle their most pressing public health problems. Our goal is to see governments adopt promising interventions at scale as rapidly as possible. To find out more, please visit www.vitalstrategies.org or Twitter @VitalStrat.

Stay in the know: Follow #KnowCOVID and #PreventEpidemics

Media Contacts:

Erin Sykes, Resolve to Save Lives; esykes@resolvetosavelives.org; +1.646.612.0001

Christina Honeysett, Vital Strategies; choneysett@vitalstrategies.org; +1.914.424.3356

Resolve to Save Lives and Vital Strategies Urge US Congress to Fund Global Health Security

New York, USA - March 19, 2020 | Permalink

Congressional leaders should support significant and sustained global health security investment for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the next emergency supplemental package. These funds are critical to making the US, and the world, safer from pandemics.

Read the full text our letter to US Congress here.

Resolve to Save Lives Statement on ACE-Inhibitors and Angiotensin Receptor Blockers and COVID-19

New York, USA - March 16, 2020 | Permalink

ACEi and ARBs are established, life-saving treatments for patients with hypertension and other chronic illnesses. Patients should continue to take these medicines unless instructed otherwise by a doctor.

Angiotensin Converting Enzyme inhibitors (ACEis) and Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers (ARBs) are among the standard preferred antihypertensive agents, and are also recommended standard treatments for patients with chronic kidney disease, coronary heart disease, or heart failure with reduced ejection fraction. ACEis and ARBs are life-saving treatments and are generally safe, as demonstrated by randomized clinical trials.

Currently, the COVID-19 pandemic is threatening public health around the world. Early case series emerging from China, where the COVID-19 pandemic emerged, suggest that chronic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, and underlying heart or cerebrovascular disease are associated with more severe COVID-19 disease (see case series 1, 2, and 3). The details of which patients are at highest risk for severe disease are not yet well understood.

The angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) in the lung and elsewhere is believed to be a binding site for SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19 disease. ACE2 de-activates angiotensin II, and early evidence in animal studies suggests that ACEis and ARBs may upregulate ACE2. Recently, researchers hypothesized that patients taking ACEis or ARBs may be at risk for more severe COVID-19 illness because of ACE2 upregulation. A different set of researchers suggested the opposite: that these medications may be protective against COVID-19 and are potential treatments of the infection. Neither hypothesis has any empirical evidence to support it at this time. Randomized controlled trials are currently in development that will provide more information about the impact of ACEis and ARBs on COVID-19.

Hypotheses about ACEi/ARB and COVID-19 risk are intriguing. They are a cause for further study, but not for changing treatment of patients who are taking, or who have indications to begin taking these medications.

ACEi and ARBs are established, life-saving treatments for patients with hypertension and other chronic illnesses. Patients should continue to take these medicines unless instructed otherwise by a doctor.

This statement aligns with guidance independently developed and released by the European Society of Cardiology.

Statement from Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and current president and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, on World Health Organization declaring the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic

New York, USA - March 11, 2020 | Permalink

Today, Wednesday, March 11, The World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. There are currently over 100,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in 110 countries.

Statement from Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and current president and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, on World Health Organization declaring the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic:

“A pandemic declaration confirms what the data have shown for weeks: COVID-19 is spreading in many countries around the world. This does not mean it’s more severe today than it was yesterday. It’s a warning: every country needs to prepare for coronavirus. All of us, people with underlying conditions, health care facilities, and government can take steps now to prevent infection, improve outcomes of people who get infected, and reduce the societal harms the virus causes.”

Dr. Tom Frieden is former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and former commissioner of the New York City Health Department. He is currently president and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, a global non-profit initiative funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and part of the global non-profit Vital Strategies. Resolve to Save Lives works with countries to prevent 100 million deaths and to make the world safer from epidemics. @DrTomFrieden.

About Resolve to Save Lives

Resolve to Save Lives is determined to prevent millions of deaths from cardiovascular disease and epidemics, with a focus on accelerating action through speed, simplicity, and scale in low- and middle-income countries. Resolve to Save Lives is an initiative of the global public health organization Vital Strategies. We received $225 million from Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Gates Philanthropy Partners, which is funded with support from the Chan Zuckerberg Foundation. For more information on Resolve to Save Lives’ work, please visit www.preventepidemics.org or @ResolveTSL

About Vital Strategies

Vital Strategies is a global health organization that believes every person should be protected by a strong public health system. We work with governments and civil society in 73 countries to design and implement evidence-based strategies that tackle their most pressing public health problems. Our goal is to see governments adopt promising interventions at scale as rapidly as possible. To find out more, please visit www.vitalstrategies.org or Twitter @VitalStrat.

Ethiopia Introduces New Tax to Prevent Noncommunicable Diseases and Save Lives

New York, USA - March 9, 2020 | Permalink

Resolve to Save Lives commends the Ethiopian Parliaments’ action to reduce intake of trans fat, saturated fat, and sugar

Dietary risk factors are a leading driver of noncommunicable diseases, which are estimated to account for nearly half of all deaths in Ethiopia. Late last month, the Ethiopian Parliament passed an excise tax on food products proven to increase the risk for heart disease and diabetes, including margarines, fats and oils with high levels of saturated fats or trans fats, and sugar sweetened beverages. Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies, applauds the Government of Ethiopia for its action to prevent noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) by promoting healthier diets.

Under the new law, margarine with more than 40% saturated fat, or more than 0.5% trans fat, will be subject to a 50% tax. Fats and oils with more than 40% saturated fat, more than 0.5% trans fat, or any partially hydrogenated fats will be taxed 40%, as will oils whose saturated and trans fat content is not labelled. Sweetened beverages will be subject to a 25% tax—one of the highest in the world. The law also increases taxes on alcohol and tobacco.

“Ethiopia’s new tax is an important step forward for heart health” said Dr. Tom Frieden, President and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives. “Taxes are a key component of a comprehensive NCD prevention strategy—they can guide consumers to healthier choices and encourage the food industry to reformulate products to offer healthier options. We hope that Ethiopia’s swift action will encourage other countries to take similar measures to prevent disease and save lives.”

Comprehensive NCD prevention strategies combine fiscal policies, including taxation, with product regulation, marketing restrictions, public education, labelling requirements, procurement rules and health system strengthening.

Additional background:

Artificial trans fat is a man-made compound still used in some countries as a substitute for butter or lard in fried food, deep fried food, baked goods, and spreads. It has been estimated to cause more than 500,000 deaths per year, but it can be eliminated and replaced with healthier alternatives without changing the taste or cost of food. WHO has called for global elimination of artificial trans fat by 2023 with the REPLACE initiative. As of late 2019, trans fat regu­lations protected more than 2.4 bil­lion people in 30 countries (31% of the world’s population).

Excess sugar consumption has been linked to diabetes, liver and kidney damage, heart disease, and some cancers. Taxing sugar sweetened beverages has been shown to reduce consumption of sugar and has been adopted by more than 50 countries and cities worldwide. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends taxes of at least 20% on sugary drinks.In addition to these Resolve to Save Lives efforts, Vital Strategies is engaged in obesity prevention work in Barbados, Brazil, Colombia, Jamaica and South Africa to reduce consumption of sugary drinks and junk food and promote healthy food policies.

Media Contact:

Erin Sykes, Resolve to Save Lives: esykes@resolvetosavelives.org; +1.646.612.0001
Christina Honeysett, Vital Strategies: choneysett@vitalstrategies.org; +1.914.424.3356

About Resolve to Save Lives

Resolve to Save Lives is a five-year, $225 million campaign funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Gates Philanthropy Partners, which is funded with support from the Chan Zuckerberg Foundation. It is led by Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and housed at Vital Strategies.

Resolve to Save Lives aims to save 100 million lives by:

To find out more visit: https://www.resolvetosavelives.org or Twitter @ResolveTSL

About Vital Strategies

Vital Strategies is a global health organization that believes every person should be protected by a strong public health system. Our programs reach into 73 countries and help prevent death and illness from noncommunicable disease, reduce harm caused by environmental factors, and support cities as engines for public health. We consult with governments on issues including advocating for taxation on unhealthy commodities like sugary drinks and junk food, promoting smoke-free laws, improving indoor and outdoor air quality, and strengthening road safety. These are protections that can add up to millions of lives saved. Our team combines evidence-based strategies with innovation to help develop and implement sound public health policies, manage programs efficiently, strengthen data systems, conduct research and design strategic communication campaigns for policy and behavior change.

To find out more, please visit www.vitalstrategies.org or Twitter @VitalStrat.

Dr. Tom Frieden on the World Health Organization’s Declaration of a Public Health Emergency of International Concern

New York, USA - January 31, 2020 | Permalink

Today the World Health Organization announced a public health emergency of international concern related to the novel coronavirus (2019 nCov).

Statement from Dr. Tom Frieden, President and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies

“The declaration of a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) is warranted and matches the situation on the ground. The PHEIC will allow WHO to go beyond the sound technical information they have distributed to date, and allow them to further lean into the role of global leadership for governments and the private sector. WHO’s leadership will help us address the major gap in combatting novel coronavirus: detailed epidemiology that allows us to better understand how it is spreading, the range of illness it causes, who is most susceptible to severe illness and death, its mortality rate, and the best ways to limit or stop spread. With China’s invitation for an expert team to join its efforts, the key will be to ensure investigations are rapid and findings are quickly disseminated.

Some of the things China and the world will benefit from understanding better include:

Resolve to Save Lives will continue to keep a close watch on the outbreak, working with countries in Africa and elsewhere on preparedness, and offering assistance in China.”

Media Contact:

Erin Sykes, Resolve to Save Lives: esykes@resolvetosavelives.org; +1.646.612.0001

Christina Honeysett, Vital Strategies: choneysett@vitalstrategies.org; +1.914.424.3356

Dr. Tom Frieden (www.DrTomFrieden.net) is former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and former commissioner of the New York City Health Department. He is currently president and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, a global non-profit initiative of Vital Strategies, working with countries to prevent 100 million deaths and make the world safer from epidemics. Twitter @DrTomFrieden, Facebook, LinkedIn, Medium

Resolve to Save Lives is a five-year, $225 million initiative funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Gates Philanthropy Partners, which is funded with support from the Chan Zuckerberg Foundation. It is led by Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and housed at Vital Strategies. To find out more visit: https://www.resolvetosavelives.org or Twitter @ResolveTSL

Vital Strategies is a global health organization that believes every person should be protected by a strong public health system. We work with governments and civil society in 73 countries to design and implement evidence-based strategies that tackle their most pressing public health problems. Our goal is to see governments adopt promising interventions at scale as rapidly as possible. To find out more, please visit www.vitalstrategies.orgor Twitter @VitalStrat.

Leading Cardiovascular Health Organizations Urge Food Companies and Restaurant Chains to Stop Use of Deadly Chemical by 2023

New York, USA - January 14, 2020 | Permalink

American Heart Association, NCD Alliance, Resolve to Save Lives, and World Heart Federation Issue Letter to 41 Companies Calling on them to Replace Artificial Trans Fat with Healthier Alternatives

January 14, 2020: American Heart Association, NCD Alliance, Resolve to Save Lives (an initiative of Vital Strategies), and World Heart Federation have called on 40 of the largest multinational food manufacturers and a major global fats and oils supplier to protect the cardiovascular health of consumers worldwide by eliminating artificial trans fat from all products by 2023, the World Health Organization (WHO)’s target date for global trans fat elimination.

The four cardiovascular health organizations sent company leaders a letter inviting them to commit to reformulating products containing artificial trans fat, which has been estimated to cause more than 500,000 deaths from heart disease each year.

“For decades, industry has sold this toxic product to consumers, and these companies have a critical role to play in its elimination,” said Dr. Tom Frieden, President and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives. “The evidence is clear: trans fat kills, and companies have an obligation to act. No one asks for trans fat in their food, and no one will miss it when it’s gone.”

American Heart Association, NCD Alliance, Resolve to Save Lives, and World Heart Federation previously contacted 13 of the 41 companies in May of 2019 to urge them to commit to trans fat elimination, but none of these companies responded. In their most recent letter, the health organizations indicated that they plan public action against those that fail to respond a second time: “Because we believe that consumers have the right to know when foods, fats and oils companies disregard their obligation to protect consumer health, we will make the names of companies that fail to respond to this second call public. We will also test food products in markets around the world to measure the trans fat contents and share the results with policy-makers and the public.”

Artificial trans fat is fully replaceable by healthier oils and fats without changing the taste of food, and many major food companies have committed to eliminating trans fat for their global product lines. In 2018, WHO released the REPLACE Action Package ( www.who.int/replace-transfat/ ) to guide the global elimination of industrially-produced trans fat, including policy action and support for healthier oils and fats.

Eliminating artificial trans fat is possible. Member companies of the International Food and Beverage Alliance (IFBA) are 12 of the leading food and non-alcoholic beverage companies globally and committed in May 2019 to eliminate industrially produced trans fat from global product lines by 2023, in line with the WHO call on industry. IFBA members are The Coca-Cola Company, Danone, Ferrero, General Mills, Grupo Bimbo, The Kellogg Company, Mars, McDonald’s, Mondelez International, Nestlé, PepsiCo and Unilever.

Companies challenged to eliminate trans fat by 2023:

Ajinomoto

Archer Daniels Midland

Barilla Group

Barry Callebaut

Boparan Holdings

BRF Global

Campbell Soup Company

Conagra Brands

Doctor's Associates

Domino's Pizza

Dr August Oetker KG

Dunkin Donuts

Flowers Foods

Groupe Lactalis S.A.

Hormel Foods Corporation

International Dairy Queen, Inc.

Itoham Yonekyu

Jacobs Douwe Egberts

JBS S.A.

JR Simplot

Kraft Heinz

Lindt & Sprungli

Marfring Group

McCain Foods Ltd

McCormick Corporation

Meiji Holdings

Morinaga Milk Industry

NH Foods Ltd

Nisin Foods Group

Nisshin Seifun Group

OSI Group

Papa John's

Restaurant Brands International

Starbucks Corporation

Tate & Lyle

The Hershey Company

The JM Smucker Company

TreeHouse Foods

Tyson Foods, Inc.

Yamazaki Baking

YUM! Brands

Media Contact:

Erin Sykes, Resolve to Save Lives: esykes@resolvetosavelives.org; +1.646.612.0001

Christina Honeysett, Vital Strategies: choneysett@vitalstrategies.org; +1.914.424.3356

Tracey Johnston, Vital Strategies: tjohnston@vitalstrategies.org; +44-7889-081-170

About Resolve to Save Lives

Resolve to Save Lives is a five-year, $225 million initiative funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It is led by Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and housed at Vital Strategies, which works in 73 countries with the vision of a world in which every person is protected by a strong public health system. To find out more, visit www.resolvetosavelives.org or Twitter @ResolveTSL.

About Vital Strategies

Vital Strategies is a global health organization that seeks to accelerate progress on the world’s most pressing health problems. The Vital Strategies team combines evidence-based strategies with innovation to help develop and implement sound public health policies, manage programs efficiently, strengthen data systems, conduct research, and design strategic communication campaigns for policy and behavior change. To find out more, visit www.vitalstrategies.org or Twitter @VitalStrat.

Resolve to Save Lives Announces US $2.3 Million in Grants to Promote Heart Health in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

New York, USA - November 7, 2019 | Permalink

Programs in 18 Countries Receive Highly Competitive Grants

November 7, 2019 (New York, NY)—Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies, announced the recipients of the highly competitive LINKS grants, with awards totaling more than US $2.3 million. Funded programs support blood pressure control, salt reduction and trans fat elimination, and include a patient-centered hypertension screening and treatment program in Pakistan, monitoring South Africa’s sodium reduction laws, and advocacy for effective regulation of trans fat in Kenya.

The grant program, part of the LINKS platform that connects people working to improve cardiovascular health around the world, is funded by Resolve to Save Lives, and managed by Resolve along with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through the CDC Foundation.

“Cardiovascular disease kills more people each year than all infectious diseases combined, but it remains neglected by many health systems and the global health community.”

Dr. Tom Frieden, President and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives.

“Cardiovascular disease kills more people each year than all infectious diseases combined, but it remains neglected by many health systems and the global health community,” said Dr. Tom Frieden, President and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives. “LINKS is connecting champions on the front lines of work in low- and middle-income countries and sharing lessons and resources to accelerate progress.”

This second round of grant funding will support government and civil society organizations working in 18 countries. Programs will target high blood pressure in Ecuador, Jordan, Haiti, Kenya, Mongolia, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Vietnam; salt reduction in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Costa Rica, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Nigeria, South Africa, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan; and trans fat elimination in Kenya and Tanzania.

“The LINKS grant program will help to identify local solutions to hypertension control and advance control of non-communicable diseases through primary health care,” said Dr. Cherian Varghese, Coordinator of Management of Non-communicable Diseases at WHO. “The program will also build capacity in health systems, which is critical to advance universal health coverage.”

“To address cardiovascular disease, the CDC Foundation is pleased to work with partners by providing support to countries around the world seeking technical assistance through the LINKS online community and platform,” said Dr. Judy Monroe, president and CEO of the CDC Foundation. “Working together to address the health challenge of cardiovascular disease ensures that knowledge, best practices and lessons learned are shared and utilized across the globe.”

First-round grants totaling USD 1.25 million were awarded in March 2019 to LINKS members in 11 countries. The grants are intended to help health systems and non-governmental organizations pilot approaches that will lead to scalable national programs that can save both lives and money, including by reducing health care costs associated with avoidable heart attacks, strokes, and kidney failure.

LINKS membership is free and members are eligible to apply for one-time grants to improve cardiovascular health in their communities using one of three proven, effective approaches to improving heart health: increasing control of high blood pressure, reducing salt intake or eliminating trans fat. LINKS also provides members access to technical assistance from cardiovascular health experts from around the world, networking opportunities, useful tools for cardiovascular health, and live webinars.

2019 LINKS Grant Recipients and Projects:

Caucasus Region (Armenia, Azerbaijan, & Georgia): WHO European Office for the Prevention and Control of NCDs

Reduce salt intake in the Caucasus region by collecting quality data on population salt consumption and nutritional composition of selected products, bringing together policy makers to develop national salt targets and nutritional guidelines for public institutions and implementing a national campaign to raise awareness about salt reduction among primary care professionals and the food and hospitality sector.


Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, & Uzbekistan): Kazakhstan WHO Country Office, WHO/Europe

Reduce salt intake in Central Asia by estimating population salt intake, training researchers, primary care professionals and the food and hospitality sector on salt reduction, implementing a campaign about the risks of excess salt among consumers, cooks and caterers, and promoting food reformulation and product improvement.


Costa Rica: Costa Rican Institute of Research and Teaching in Nutrition and Health (INCIENSA)

Support salt reduction policy by assessing amount, sources and trends in population salt consumption, surveying knowledge, attitudes and practices around salt in food services, and adapting a regional social media campaign for national use.


Ecuador: Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO)

Improve control of high blood pressure by training health staff and developing monitoring and evaluation tools for the national implementation of the WHO HEARTS technical package.


Haiti: Weill Cornell Medicine & GHESKIO Centers

Train physician, nurses, and community health workers at 30 clinics across Haiti to implement new national primary-care blood pressure guidelines, support the Ministry of Health with strategic planning for blood pressure medication supply management, and expand a community-based blood pressure management program.


Jordan: The Eastern Mediterranean Public Health Network (EMPHNET)

Implement the WHO HEARTS technical package for cardiovascular disease management in 20 health care centers in the north of Jordan and evaluate impact on blood pressure control.

Kenya: Ministry of Health and Ujamaa Health and Strategy Solutions

Train community health workers and primary health care workers to implement appropriate blood pressure screening, diagnosis, care, follow-up and reporting.


Kenya: International Institute for Legislative Affairs (ILA)

Assess the existing policy and regulatory framework and identify stakeholders for trans fat elimination and advocate for effective policy and legislative approaches for the regulation of trans fat in Kenya.


Malaysia: Ministry of Health Malaysia, National University of Malaysia, The George Institute for Global Health (TGI) and the WHO Office in Malaysia

Analyze salt levels in street foods to accelerate mandatory sodium labelling, inform salt-reduction education messages, and engage the food industry in reformulation efforts.


Mongolia: Onom Foundation

Expand blood pressure control program to all provinces in Mongolia by training healthcare professionals and increasing screening and diagnosis.


Nigeria: Epidemiology and Biostatistics Research Unit at the Institute of Advanced Medical Research and Training (EBRU-IAMRAT)

Determine salt content of meals served by National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme, educate students on the risks of too much salt, train school food vendors on reduced-salt cooking, and evaluate the effectiveness of salt reduction education in primary schools.


Nigeria: African Field Epidemiology Network (AFENET)

Improve blood pressure control in three communities in Anambra state by raising awareness about high blood pressure, promoting patient-centered approaches for community-based diagnosis, building health systems capacity for blood pressure management, and ensuring availability of blood pressure drugs in primary care centers.


Pakistan: Indus Health Network-Global Health Directorate (IHN-GHD)

Launch a patient-centered hypertension screening and treatment program at four IHN-GHD primary care sites by using standardized screening and treatment protocols, creating a patient registry, and ensuring accessibility of regular blood pressure monitoring and convenient, affordable medication refills and adjustments.


South Africa: University of Wollongong (UoW)

Establish a rigorous, transparent and sustainable mechanism for monitoring and evaluation of salt reduction legislation in South Africa.


Tanzania: Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS)

Assess trans fat levels in street foods and edible oils/fats, and generate local evidence to promote best practice policies for trans fat elimination and the use of healthier replacement oils/fats.


Vietnam: National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology

Improve access to quality, affordable cardiovascular medications among rural populations in northern Vietnam by implementing and scaling up the Revolving Fund Pharmacy model, a patient-centered supply chain system to bridge gaps in government pharmacy medication supply.

Media Contact:

Erin Sykes, Resolve to Save Lives: esykes@resolvetosavelives.org; +1.646.612.0001

Christina Honeysett, Vital Strategies: choneysett@vitalstrategies.org; +1.914.424.3356

Tracey Johnston, Vital Strategies: tjohnston@vitalstrategies.org; +44-7889-081-170

About Resolve to Save Lives

Resolve to Save Lives is a five-year, $225 million initiative funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It is led by Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and housed at Vital Strategies, which works in 73 countries with the vision of a world in which every person is protected by a strong public health system. To find out more, visit www.resolvetosavelives.org or Twitter @ResolveTSL.

About Vital Strategies

Vital Strategies is a global health organization that seeks to accelerate progress on the world’s most pressing health problems. The Vital Strategies team combines evidence-based strategies with innovation to help develop and implement sound public health policies, manage programs efficiently, strengthen data systems, conduct research, and design strategic communication campaigns for policy and behavior change. To find out more, visit www.vitalstrategies.org or Twitter @VitalStrat.

New Website for Francophone Africa Shows Most Countries are not Prepared for an Epidemic

New York, USA - October 17, 2019 | Permalink

PreventEpidemics.org Highlights Gaps in Preparedness and Encourages Action to Save Lives

The world will face another epidemic, but most countries are not ready to find, stop, and prevent its spread. A website that was just launched in French, PreventEpidemics.org, spotlights gaps in preparedness and highlights actions countries, donors, activists, and organizations can take to fill them. Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies, first released PreventEpidemics.org in English in 2018. Now, the information is available in French to facilitate understanding of preparedness gaps and strengths among journalists and advocates in Francophone Africa.

Screenshot of new PreventEpidemics French website
new PreventEpidemics French website

The website is the first to provide advocacy tools based on each country’s progress towards epidemic preparedness, and a single number ⁠— the ReadyScore®⁠— that details how prepared countries are to find, stop and prevent epidemics. The site also features an interactive map showing real time international flights and outbreak alerts overlaid on ReadyScores.

“By the end of this year, nearly 120 countries will have completed a rigorous, transparent assessment of how prepared they are for an epidemic, but there has been too little progress closing life-threatening gaps,” says Dr. Tom Frieden, President and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives and former US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director. “It’s not a matter of if there will be another global epidemic, but when. It’s time for the global community and countries to step up and improve preparedness.”

Resolve to Save Lives partners with countries to help them step up their preparedness through technical assistance, resource mobilization and catalyzing political will.

“How can we prevent a nurse in DRC from contracting measles, or a child in Senegal from getting malaria?” said Marine Buissonniere, Senior Adviser, Resolve to Save Lives. “Our website not only communicates the risk that epidemics will not be effectively managed, but, most importantly, encourages action to reduce these risks.”

A key feature of PreventEpidemics.org is the ReadyScore, a measure of country preparedness based on existing data from the Joint External Evaluation (JEE), an external assessment developed by the World Health Organization and partner organizations to help countries find and close gaps in epidemic preparedness. ReadyScore uses JEE data to calculate a numerical score — from 0 to 100 — representing a country’s ability to prepare for and respond to an epidemic. These scores can drive action at the country and global level by motivating countries to step up preparedness overall and by specific area.

In Francophone Africa, there are a range of ReadyScores, from Senegal with 45 to the Central African Republic with 26, and each country has unique strengths and gaps. Senegal has strong immunization activities but can improve coordination of outbreak response. DRC scored 35 and is working to develop a trained workforce but struggling with preparedness. PreventEpidemics.org provides detailed information for countries and allows users to see how their own ReadyScore compares to a list of their neighbors.

PreventEpidemics.org provides a geo-targeted homepage, advocacy tools including detailed global- and country-level data, highlights of countries’ strengths and gaps, and action plans to engage decision makers to improve epidemic preparedness.

For further information or to arrange an interview with a Resolve to Save Lives expert, please contact ebradford@rtsl.org.

Additional information:

The ReadyScore consolidates 19 areas of epidemic preparedness assessed during a JEE. Within those areas, nearly 50 factors are assessed, such as whether a country has a national laboratory system to diagnose diseases and the capacity of its public health workforce to find, stop and prevent epidemics. The JEE rates each of these indicators on a scale of 1 – 5. One is “no capacity” and is coded red. Two and three indicate the “need to build capacity” (limited or developed capacity) and are coded yellow. Four and five indicate “sustainable capacity” and are in the desired green band. The ReadyScore is the average score of the nineteen area scores, placed on a scale of 0 to 100.

About Resolve to Save Lives

Resolve to Save Lives is a five-year, $225 million initiative funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It is led by Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and housed at Vital Strategies, which works in 73 countries with the vision of a world in which every person is protected by a strong public health system. To find out more, visit www.resolvetosavelives.org or Twitter @ResolveTSL.

About Vital Strategies

Vital Strategies is a global health organization that seeks to accelerate progress on the world’s most pressing health problems. The Vital Strategies team combines evidence-based strategies with innovation to help develop and implement sound public health policies, manage programs efficiently, strengthen data systems, conduct research, and design strategic communication campaigns for policy and behavior change. To find out more, visit www.vitalstrategies.org or Twitter @VitalStrat.

Un nouveau site web pour l'Afrique francophone démontre que la plupart des pays ne sont pas préparés à faire face à une épidémie

New York, USA - October 17, 2019 | Permalink

PreventEpidemics.org souligne les lacunes dans la préparation aux épidémies et encourage les actions visant à sauver des vies

Une nouvelle épidémie est inévitable, mais la plupart des pays ne sont pas prêts pour prévenir, détecter, et empêcher la propagation d’une telle épidémie. PreventEpidemics.org, un site web qui vient d'être lancé en français, souligne les lacunes en matière de préparation aux épidémies et met en évidence les actions que les pays, les donateurs, les activistes et les organisations peuvent entreprendre pour combler ces dernières. Resolve to Save Lives, une initiative de Vital Strategies, a mis en ligne pour la première fois PreventEpidemics.org en anglais en 2018. Désormais, les informations sont disponibles en français pour faciliter la compréhension des lacunes et des forces en matière de préparation aux épidémies parmi les journalistes et les promoteurs de la santé publique en Afrique francophone.

Screenshot of new PreventEpidemics French website
new PreventEpidemics French website

Le site web est le premier à fournir des outils de plaidoyer basés sur les progrès de chaque pays en matière de préparation aux épidémies, et un numéro unique - le ReadyScore® - détaillant le niveau de préparation des pays pour la prévention, la détection, et le contrôle des épidémies. Le site propose également une carte interactive montrant les vols internationaux en temps réel et les alertes d'épidémies combinées aux ReadyScores.

« À la fin de cette année, près de 120 pays auront achevé une évaluation rigoureuse et transparente de leur niveau de préparation aux épidémies, mais les progrès accomplis pour combler les lacunes qui posent un danger immédiat pour les vies humaines sont insuffisants», a déclaré le Dr Tom Frieden, Président et CEO de <i>Resolve to Save Lives</i> et ancien directeur des Centres américains pour le contrôle et la prévention des maladies. « Ce n’est pas une question de savoir s’il y aura une autre épidémie mondiale, mais <i>quand</i>. Il est temps que la communauté internationale et les pays intensifient leurs efforts et améliorent leur niveau de préparation.»

Les partenaires de Resolve to Save Lives aident les pays à renforcer leur niveau préparation aux épidémies en apportant une assistance technique, en mobilisant des ressources et en catalysant la volonté politique.

« Comment pouvons-nous éviter qu’une infirmière en République démocratique du Congo contracte la rougeole, ou qu’un enfant au Sénégal attrape le paludisme?» demande Marine Buissonnière, conseillère principale de Resolve to Save Lives . « Non seulement notre site web signale le fait que des risques épidémiques ne soient pas gérées efficacement, mais, surtout, encourage les mesures visant à réduire ces risques. »

Un élément clé de PreventEpidemics.org est le ReadyScore, une mesure du niveau de préparation des pays basée sur les données existantes des Évaluations Externes Conjointes (EEC), réalisées par l’Organisation mondiale de la Santé et des organisations partenaires pour aider les pays à identifier et à combler les lacunes en matière de préparation aux épidémies. Le ReadyScore utilise les données des EEC pour calculer un score numérique - compris entre 0 et 100 - représentant la capacité d’un pays à se préparer et à faire face à une épidémie. Ces scores peuvent conduire à une action aux niveaux national et international en motivant les pays à renforcer leur préparation globale et par domaine spécifique.

En Afrique francophone, il existe une gamme de ReadyScores, du Sénégal avec 45 à la République centrafricaine avec 26, et chaque pays possède des forces et des lacunes uniques. Le Sénégal met en œuvre d’importantes activités de vaccination mais peut encore améliorer la coordination de sa riposte aux épidémies. La RDC a obtenu un score de 35 et travaille à la mise en place d'une main-d'œuvre qualifiée, mais lutte avec des difficultés de préparation. PreventEpidemics.org fournit des informations détaillées aux pays et permet aux utilisateurs de voir comment le ReadyScore de leur pays se compare à ceux de leurs voisins.

PreventEpidemics.org fournit une page d’accueil géo-ciblée, des outils de plaidoyer comprenant des données détaillées aux niveaux international et national, les forces et les faiblesses des pays et des plans d’action pour inciter les décideurs à améliorer leur niveau de préparation aux épidémies.

PreventEpidemics.org reconnaît qu'aucun pays ne sera jamais totalement à l'abri de la menace d'épidémies, mais des systèmes solides et robustes pour détecter et contrer les menaces peuvent minimiser les maladies évitables et les décès en cas de maladies infectieuses nouvelles ou émergentes.

Pour plus d'informations ou pour organiser une interview avec un expert de Resolve to Save Lives, veuillez contacter l’African Media Agency.

Informations supplémentaires:

Le ReadyScore fusionne les 19 domaines de préparation et de réponse aux épidémies évaluées au cours d’une EEC. Près de 50 facteurs sont évalués dans ces domaines, par exemple si un pays dispose d’un système national de laboratoires pour diagnostiquer les maladies et de la capacité de son personnel de santé publique à prévenir, détecter, et empêcher la propagation des épidémies. L'EEC note le niveau d’avancement dans chacun de ces domaines sur une échelle de 1 à 5. 1 correspond à « capacité absente » et est codé en rouge. 2 et 3 indiquent le « besoin de renforcer les capacités » (capacité limitée ou en place) et sont codés en jaune. 4 et 5 désignent une capacité « démontrée » ou « pérenne » et se situent dans la bande verte souhaitée. Le ReadyScore est le score moyen des 19 domaines présenté sur une échelle allant de 0 à 100.

À propos de Resolve to Save Lives

Resolve to Save Livesest une initiative quinquennale de 225 millions de dollars américains financée par Bloomberg Philanthropies, l'Initiative Chan Zuckerberg et la Fondation Bill & Melinda Gates. Elle est dirigée par le Dr Tom Frieden, ancien directeur des Centres américains pour le contrôle et la prévention des maladies, et hébergée par Vital Strategies, une organisation qui travaille dans 73 pays avec la vision d'un monde dans lequel chaque personne est protégée par un système de santé publique fort. Pour en savoir plus, visitez le site www.resolvetosavelives.org ou Twitter @ResolveTSL.

À propos de Vital Strategies

Vital Strategies est une organisation internationale de santé publique qui vise à accélérer les progrès concernant les problèmes de santé mondiale les plus urgents. L’équipe du Vital Strategies associe des stratégies fondées sur des données probantes à l’innovation afin de contribuer à l’élaboration et à la mise en œuvre de politiques de santé publique fortes, à la gestion efficace des programmes, au renforcement des systèmes de données, à la recherche et à la conception de campagnes de communication stratégiques axées sur le changement de politique et de comportement. Pour en savoir plus, visitez le site www.vitalstrategies.org ou Twitter @VitalStrat.

China Debuts First-of-its-kind Salt Reduction Mass Media Campaign

New York, USA - September 2, 2019 | Permalink

China leads the world in strokes and heart attacks caused by eating too much salt

(New York, NY) This week, the Chinese government debuted, “Love with Less Salt,” the country’s first major mass media campaign to dramatically depict the dangers of the high salt diet common in China. The eight-week long campaign is the cornerstone of the government’s mass media effort to prompt actions to curb high salt consumption. “Love with Less Salt” will run on China Central Television (CCTV), China’s primary state television broadcaster, and in Shandong and Anhui Provinces, which have a combined population exceeding 160 million people. The campaign was developed with China’s National Health Commission, Shandong and Anhui Health Commissions, and the Shandong and Anhui Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Excess salt kills at least four hundred thousand people in China every year,” said Dr. Tom Frieden, President and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies. “The Chinese government has set a goal to reduce salt intake by 20% by 2030. The ad empowers consumers to make healthier choices. This public education effort, along with the government’s recent action to lower the recommended amount of salt to 5 grams per day, are important steps towards achieving their goal.”

Average salt intake in China is 10.5 grams per day, more than double the amount recommended by the World Health Organization and is among the highest in the world. High salt diets are directly linked to high blood pressure, kidney failure and stroke. The ad recommends no more than 5 grams of salt each day to improve heart health.

Data show that the primary source of sodium in China is salt added during home cooking. In addition to showing the disabling effect of stroke, “Love with Less Salt” shows popular foods that are high in salt, such as pickles, as well as a measuring spoon with the recommended amount of salt per day.

“Vital Strategies is excited to be working with Shandong and Anhui on a mass media campaign to reduce salt consumption, a leading cause of hypertension,” said Sandra Mullin, Senior Vice President of Policy, Advocacy and Communications at Vital Strategies. “The campaign was developed using rigorous local research on the messages that would prompt people to change attitudes and ultimately behavior. We are optimistic that this effort will contribute to the broader effort underway of reducing salt intake and improving health in China.”

“Love with Less Salt” will air on television and radio for eight weeks, and billboards and posters relaying the ad’s key messages will be posted in Shandong and Anhui provinces during the 2- month campaign period. The campaign will be supported by community education events in major cities in these two provinces, such as healthy recipe competitions, guest speakers at large gatherings and printed materials in public facilities.

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Additional information:

The Chinese government has instituted several programs to lower salt intake:

Media Contact:

Erin Sykes, Resolve to Save Lives: esykes@resolvetosavelives.org; +1.646.612.0001

Christina Honeysett, Vital Strategies: choneysett@vitalstrategies.org; +1.914.424.3356

About Resolve to Save Lives

Resolve to Save Lives is a five-year, $225 million campaign funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It is led by Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and coordinated by Vital Strategies, which works in 60 countries to address the world’s most challenging health issues.

Resolve to Save Lives aims to save 100 million lives over the next 30 years by:

About Vital Strategies

Vital Strategies is a global health organization that seeks to accelerate progress on the world’s most pressing health problems. Our team combines evidence-based strategies with innovation to help develop and implement sound public health policies, manage programs efficiently, strengthen data systems, conduct research, and design strategic communication campaigns for policy and behavior change. To find out more, please visit www.vitalstrategies.org or Twitter @VitalStrat.

For further information or to arrange an interview with a Resolve to Save Lives expert, please contact Erin Sykes at +1 646-612-0001 or esykes@resolvetosavelives.org or Christina Honeysett, Vital Strategies at +1 914.424.3356 or choneysett@vitalstrategies.org.

100 Countries Now Know How Prepared They Are for Next Outbreak – Time to Close the Gaps

New York, USA - July 9, 2019 | Permalink

The 100th JEE was completed by Haiti, one of the first countries in the Americas to complete the exercise.

(New York, NY) The world has reached a new milestone in epidemic preparedness. One hundred countries have now completed a Joint External Evaluation (JEE), the world’s gold standard for evaluating how prepared a country is to find, stop and prevent an epidemic. The JEE helps countries determine which preparedness gaps are most important to fill in order to reduce epidemic risk, and how to fill these gaps.

“Congratulations to the 100 countries that completed the JEE. Five years ago, this seemed like a nearly impossible goal,” said Dr. Tom Frieden, President and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies. “JEEs are pointing the way to a safer world. As we shift from evaluation to action – governments, civil society and donors need to urgently step up readiness.”

The 100th JEE was completed by Haiti, one of the first countries in the Americas to complete the exercise.

“100 countries have completed the JEE, and 7,000 gaps have been identified,” said Amanda McClelland, Senior Vice President of the Prevent Epidemics team at Resolve to Save Lives. “As we celebrate this success, we can’t lose sight of the work ahead of us. Once countries complete a JEE, that’s when the real work begins⁠—closing the gaps identified by the assessment to ensure we’re better prepared tomorrow.”

PreventEpidemic.org, a website created by Resolve to Save Lives, uses JEE data to show how prepared each country is for the next epidemic, and provides advocacy tools to encourage governments to fill preparedness gaps.

Additional information:

The Joint External Evaluation (JEE) is a comprehensive, standardized and transparent assessment of a country’s ability to find, stop and prevent disease threats, conducted first by a group of domestic experts and then validated by an external group of independent international experts. Similar to a report card, 19 areas of epidemic preparedness and response ability are assessed and then scored. The assessment is voluntary, initiated by a country, conducted approximately every five years, and the results are published by the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO also uses other processes, including mandated annual self-reporting (the results of which are also presented on this site), simulation exercises, and after-action reviews to help countries assess and identify areas for improvement in preparedness and response.

WHO Endorsement of Simpler Drug Treatment for Blood Pressure Will Save Lives

New York, USA - July 9, 2019 | Permalink

Including fixed dose combinations on Essential Medicine List will improve availability, affordability for 1 billion

(New York, NY) Resolve to Save Lives (RTSL), an initiative of Vital Strategies, welcomes the addition of four fixed dose combinations (FDCs) of antihypertensive medications to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Essential Medicines List (EML) in response to an application filed by RTSL and partners. Adding four FDCs (lisinopril/amlodipine, lisinopril /hydrochlorothiazide, telmisartan/amlodipine, and telmisartan/hydrochlorothiazide) to the Essential Medicines List is a critical step to improve the availability and affordability of these drugs, making it easier for the more than 1 billion people with high blood pressure worldwide to regularly take the medicines they need to prevent early disability and death.

FDCs, which combine two or more blood pressure medications that are commonly taken together into a single pill, have been proven to improve patients’ adherence to medication regimens and blood pressure control rates. FDCs have important advantages for patients and health systems, including simpler dose schedules, decreased pill burden, reduced stockouts, and easier task sharing, training, and supervision.

“High blood pressure kills more people than all infectious diseases combined, but there are safe, effective, generic, low-cost medications that can prevent many of these deaths,” said Dr. Tom Frieden, President and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives. “FDCs have played an important role in improving blood pressure control rates in many countries, and their inclusion in the WHO EML will encourage all health systems to prioritize these life-saving drugs.”

Many countries use the WHO EML as a model, and the listing of FDC antihypertensive medications will promote broader global uptake. Resolve to Save Lives coordinated the application for antihypertensive FDC’s inclusion in the 21st WHO EML with support from Vital Strategies, the Arnhold Institute for Global Health, the George Institute for Global Health, and the Young Professionals Chronic Disease Network.

Only one of every seven people who has high blood pressure worldwide has it under control, even though high blood pressure can be safely treated and managed with medication. A major reason for low global control is that most patients require two or more drugs to control blood pressure, yet many only receive one. Improving worldwide control of high blood pressure to 70% percent can prevent almost 40 million deaths over 25 years.

“Ensuring a supply of safe, effective medications for high blood pressure and promoting patient-centered care through convenient medication regimens are both key to improving blood pressure control rates around the world,” said Dr. Frieden. “Having FDCs for hypertension on the WHO EML is a breakthrough for both of these proven strategies, and for getting these drugs to the people who need them.”

Many leading global organizations support increasing access to FDCs of antihypertensive medications, including the American Heart Association, European Society of Hypertension, International Society of Hypertension, Lancet Commission on Hypertension Group, Latin American Society on Hypertension, Resolve to Save Lives, World Heart Federation, World Hypertension League, and World Stroke Organization.

Resolve to Save Lives does not accept funding or any type of gift from pharmaceutical companies or device manufacturers.

Additional Information

Although specific medications are listed in the EML, countries can select similar medications of the same class. For example, many experts recommend that chlorthalidone be used in place of hydrochlorothiazide because of evidence that it is more effective in preventing cardiovascular events. Current availability of chlorthalidone is limited and prices are higher than hydrochlorothiazide, but that may change if chlorthalidone becomes more widely used.

About Resolve to Save Lives

Resolve to Save Lives is a five-year, $225 million campaign funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It is led by Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and coordinated by Vital Strategies, which works in 60 countries to address the world’s most challenging health issues.

Resolve to Save Lives aims to save 100 million lives over the next 30 years by:

About Vital Strategies

Vital Strategies is a global health organization that seeks to accelerate progress on the world’s most pressing health problems. Our team combines evidence-based strategies with innovation to help develop and implement sound public health policies, manage programs efficiently, strengthen data systems, conduct research, and design strategic communication campaigns for policy and behavior change. To find out more, please visit www.vitalstrategies.org or Twitter @VitalStrat.

For further information or to arrange an interview with a Resolve to Save Lives expert, please contact Erin Sykes at +1 646-612-0001 or esykes@resolvetosavelives.org or Christina Honeysett, Vital Strategies at +1 914.424.3356 or choneysett@vitalstrategies.org.

How To Save 100 Million Lives Through Improved Heart Health

New York, USA - June 11, 2019 | Permalink

New study shows three scalable interventions can save millions of lives globally

(New York, USA) – A new study in the journal Circulation reports nearly 100 million lives could be saved by increasing the number of people around the world treated for high blood pressure, by reducing salt intake and by eliminating trans fat from the global food supply. The authors used current global figures on blood pressure, salt intake and trans fat consumption to estimate the impact that evidence-based interventions would have on future death rates. They found that scaling up global treatment for high blood pressure to 70% could delay 39.4 million deaths, that reaching a 30% reduction in sodium intake could delay an additional 40 million deaths, and that eliminating trans fat could delay 14.8 million deaths, for a total of almost 100 million lives in 25 years.

Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies, welcomes these findings, which demonstrate the life-saving potential of cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention on a global scale. The findings highlight the need for renewed and increased commitments to improving high blood pressure treatment, reducing salt intake, and eliminating trans fats from governments, health systems, and advocates. The three cost-effective, feasible interventions are needed to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 3.4, which aims to reduce risk of premature death from noncommunicable diseases by one third by 2030.

“Improving blood pressure, reducing salt and eliminating trans fat have tremendous potential to improve cardiovascular health globally, said Dr. Tom Frieden, President and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives. “But the full potential of these interventions to save lives can only be reached with increased national and international efforts. The research published in Circulation shows that this is a public health opportunity that we can’t leave on the table. There are millions of lives at stake, and we have proven solutions.”

Resolve to Save Lives aims to work with partners to save 100 million lives by:

Non-communicable diseases (NCD), including cardiovascular disease, claim 38 million lives a year and are the leading global cause of death. 40% of those who die from NCDs are younger than 70, and 80% of these premature NCD deaths occur in low- and middle- income countries (LMICs).

Despite the substantial and growing burden of heart disease in LMICs, only 1% or less of all global health funding is currently invested in NCD prevention.

Media Contact:

Erin Sykes, Resolve to Save Lives: esykes@resolvetosavelives.org; +1.646.612.0001
Christina Honeysett, Vital Strategies: choneysett@vitalstrategies.org; +1.914.424.3356
Tracey Johnston, Vital Strategies: tjohnston@vitalstrategies.org; +44.(0)7889.081.170

Link to article

https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.118.038160

About Resolve to Save Lives

Resolve to Save Lives is a five-year, $225 million campaign funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Gates Philanthropy Partners, which is funded with support from the Chan Zuckerberg Foundation. It is led by Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and housed at Vital Strategies. .

About Vital Strategies

Vital Strategies is a global health organization that believes every person should be protected by a strong public health system. Our programs reach into 73 countries and help prevent death and illness from noncommunicable disease, reduce harm caused by environmental factors, and support cities as engines for public health. We consult with governments on issues including restricting junk food marketing to kids, promoting smoke-free laws, improving indoor and outdoor air quality, and strengthening road safety. These are protections that can add up to millions of lives saved. Our team combines evidence-based strategies with innovation to help develop and implement sound public health policies, manage programs efficiently, strengthen data systems, conduct research and design strategic communication campaigns for policy and behavior change.