New research shows impact of heart disease prevention in low- and middle-income settings

New York, NY – April 12, 2021—As cases of cardiovascular disease (CVD) continue to rise, the need for evidence-driven cardiovascular health initiatives is urgent. In a special section of its latest issue, the Journal of Clinical Hypertension expands the evidence base on successful reduction of cardiovascular disease in low- and middle-income countries through creative, scalable, patient-facing programs and public health policies. The special section focuses on the invaluable but often under-published work of research teams from low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) battling cardiovascular disease.

The Journal of Clinical Hypertension special section includes new studies by researchers from Latin America, Southeast Asia and South Asia that assess implementation of hypertension (high blood pressure) control and salt reduction strategies to reduce preventable deaths from CVD in their countries and worldwide.

“When solutions and successful initiatives for cardiovascular disease control are implemented in low- and middle-income countries, this benefits cardiovascular health programs around the world,” said Dr. Laura Cobb, Director of Nutrition and Surveillance, Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies. “By supporting research at a local level, we can improve cardiovascular health and save more lives on a global scale.”

This special section in the Journal of Clinical Hypertension highlights the work of seven research teams on cardiovascular health initiatives supported by Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies:

  • Giraldo et al. document the drivers and barriers for implementing the “HEARTS in the Americas” initiative. Common barriers include fragmented health systems, legal restrictions and limited health information systems; the solution to overcoming these barriers is an approach that incorporates political commitment, standardized treatment protocols, and access to high quality medicines to enhance equity, efficiency and scalability to improve population hypertension control.
  • Chailimpamontree et al. estimate the salt intake in Thailand through a community-based survey, finding that sodium consumption in Thai adults is nearly twice as high as levels recommended by the World Health Organization—indicating that improved public awareness, legislation and regular surveillance are needed to reach national sodium reduction goals.
  • Angkurawarnon et al. evaluate the control rate of high blood pressure in relation to adherence to hypertension treatment guidelines from Thailand. The study finds that the control rate of hypertension was as high as 71% in large hospitals adhering to these guidelines.
  • Kannure et al. explore the association between blood pressure control and phone call outreach strategies among the private practitioners in India. This study demonstrates that consistent follow-up with patients can lead to significant blood pressure control improvements, especially in primary care settings.
  • Das et al. document the reasons people with high blood pressure missed medical and routine care appointments in the public health facilities of India. The study identifies long travel distances between homes and health facilities as a barrier to care, and that a reminder system through texts, phone calls and home visits could increase follow-up rates.
  • Kaur et al. measure the efficacy of a blood pressure control program in a large study across four states in India. The study demonstrates that a scalable public health hypertension control program can result in blood pressure control improvements, but high loss to follow up can limit overall health impact.
  • Negi et al. compare the price of combining multiple hypertension medications into a single pill (to simplify and increase medication adherence), with the price of the equivalent, individual medicines in the private sector in India. By combining two or more drugs into a single pill, prices for blood pressure management drugs could be more accessible and affordable for patients.

This special section is the result of a mentorship program for research on cardiovascular disease prevention supported through a collaboration among the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the CDC Foundation, the Lancet Commission on Hypertension Group, Resolve to Save Lives and the World Hypertension League. This latest special section follows an earlier installment published in August 2020.

“It is not easy for authors from low- and middle-income countries to publish their work in high-impact global journals due to lack of experience and language barriers,” said Dr. Khanuengnij Yueayai, Field Epidemiology Training Program, Ministry of Public Health of Thailand. “However, after I joined the mentorship program, I felt it was possible to publish my work in those journals. The mentors thoroughly reviewed my work and helped me polish it until it was ready for publication.”

The mentorship program began in 2019, when public health trainees and practitioners were invited to a scientific writing workshop that taught participants the process of journal submission and review, the publication process and best practices for writing a scientific paper. Mentors with expertise in cardiovascular disease prevention and management, epidemiology and scientific dissemination led one-on-one mentoring sessions with participants.

“Building scientific writing capacity and increasing the dissemination of locally-led research on cardiovascular disease informs public health policy, improves the quality and sustainability of public health programs, and ultimately saves lives. CDC and partners made this mentorship program possible, and we are excited to advance the evidence on noncommunicable diseases throughout the world,” said Dr. Patricia Richter, Chief of the Office of Global Noncommunicable Diseases in the Division of Global Health Protection, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Media Contact:

Erin Sykes, Resolve to Save Lives: [email protected]; +1.646.612.0001

Christina Honeysett, Vital Strategies: [email protected]; +1.914.424.3356

Erik Friedly, CDC: [email protected]; +1.404.718.2503

About Resolve to Save Lives

Resolve to Save Lives is an initiative of the global health organization Vital Strategies focused on preventing 100 million deaths from heart disease and making the world safer from epidemics. It is led by Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To find out more visit: 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 or Twitter @VitalStrat

About CDC

CDC works 24/7 protecting America’s health, safety and security. Whether diseases start at home or abroad, are curable or preventable, chronic or acute, or from human activity or deliberate attack, CDC responds to America’s most pressing health threats. CDC is headquartered in Atlanta and has experts located throughout the United States and the world.

To find out more, please visit www.cdc.govor Twitter @CDCgov

Media Contact

[email protected]

About Resolve to Save Lives

Resolve to Save Lives is a not-for-profit organization partnering with countries, communities and organizations to prevent 100 million deaths from cardiovascular disease and make the world safer from epidemics. To find out more, visit: or Twitter @ResolveTSL.