an initiative of Vital Strategies

Press releases

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

(New York, USA) Oct. 17, 2019

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, États-Unis) Oct. 17, 2019

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

Sept. 2, 2019

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.

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.

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

Jul. 9, 2019

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.

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

Jul. 9, 2019

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.

How To Save 100 Million Lives Through Improved Heart Health

June 11, 2019

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.