Program areas at Vital Strategies
Resolve to save lives:in 2021 resolve to save lives continued to make significant progress towards advancing the initiative's two main goals of saving 100 million lives from cardiovascular disease and preventing epidemics. Given covid-19, rtsl continued to scale up pandemic response efforts in the us and globally. Program highlights from resolve's core program areas are described below.cardiovascular health: Vital Strategies drives efforts to reduce global sodium intake, eliminate artificial trans fat from the food supply and improve blood pressure control, especially in low- and middle-income countries. These programs can save an estimated 100 million lives over the next 30 years. Vital Strategies collaborated with the world health organization (who) to release a standard protocol for treating high blood pressure that uses fewer medications and fixed dosages simplifying decision-making for care providers, expanding the number of patients who can benefit, and helping clinics better manage their workloads and maintain their drug inventory. In four years, we have supported programs and policies in 31 countries and improved care of more than 7 million people living with hypertension.trans fat:artificial trans fat is a toxic chemical that increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. It was estimated to cause more than 500,000 deaths every year before resolve to save lives took action. Trans fat can be replaced with healthier fats and oils without changing the taste or increasing the cost of food. We partnered with who to evelop and launch replace, an initiative to eliminate artificial trans fat from the global food supply by providing governments with the tools to regulate trans fat in the food supply. Since the replace initiative was announced in 2018, 3.1 billion people have gained the protection of best practice trans fat elimination policies. Simple:as part of our efforts to support the scaling of a countrywide hypertension control initiative, we worked with partners in india to develop the revolutionary simple app. Simple is a free, fast, open-source electronic health record that replaces paper records, making it faster and easier for providers to track patients' blood pressure and medications. By may 2022, simple was being used in more than 10,000 public health facilities in india, bangladesh, ethiopia and sri lanka to manage more than 2 million patients, and its adoption continues to spread. Simple saves health care workers hours every week taking just 16 seconds for providers to update each patient's information and empowers doctors and program managers to improve programs continuously.prevent epidemics:three years before the the emergence of sars-cov-2, resolve to save lives had already set out to strengthen epidemic preparedness and prevention around the world. In 2018, we created preventepidemics.org, a website that sheds light on more than 7,000 preparedness gaps in 114 countries. We then partnered with countries to fill these gaps. The 15 countries in africa where we focused much of our direct support improved their preparedness by 27% including four countries covering more than a quarter of africa's population. We simplify and improve processes to accelerate implementation. One example is our collaboration with who on benchmarks.org. Benchmarks.org enables countries to quickly develop detailed action plans and gain access to international funding earmarked for epidemic preparedness. The website is currently being tested, and more than 15 countries across africa and asia have begun using it to accelerate their progress. Covid-19 response:when covid-19 began spreading worldwide, we quickly shifted to support the global response, adding staff and extending assistance to more than 60 countries. We advocated for broader access to covid-19 vaccines, diagnostics, treatments, protections for health care workers and other policies that strengthen the systems needed to find and stop health threats. We provided $6.1 million in rapid response grants to 34 countries. These timely, small grants allowed governments to surge support where needed from training, to contact tracing, to fuel for the transport of investigation teams and lab samples. We trained more than 42,000 health care workers across more than 8,400 health centers in 22 countries to safely treat covid-19 patients. We provided support to turn on an additional 280 covid-19 molecular testing labs in africa. We produced more than 750 communication products in 25 languages, including technical guidance, communication campaigns and editorials. Many of our resources were adopted by the who, africa cdc and governments around the world.
Data for health programs:successfully completed workplan development activities in ethiopia, indonesia, zimbabwe and began engagement in bolivia and kenya. Crvs continued its work in ensuring that a greater number of birth and death records are counted as part of its public health systems improvement objective. Over the life of the initiative, the cumulative number of death records improved or newly counted in countries receiving initiative support increased from 448,000 in 2015 to 13,400,000 in 2021. Specifically, from 2020 to 2021, the number of deaths increased from 3,684,000 to 3,780,000. Similarly, the cumulative number of births records improved or newly registered in focus countries increased from 282,000 in 2017 to 7,933,000 in 2021, with their being a small decrease from 2020 (2,396,000) to 2021 (2,395,000). Additionally, in 2021, several countries made significant process in the five areas of optimum crvs system functioning. At baseline, six focus countries had birth or death registration systems (two of the five areas) characterized as 'excellent' best practice systems. By 2021, another six countries attained that systems status. In terms of causes of death, two countries possessed excellent facility cause of death assignment systems and no countries had that status for community causes of death. Specifically in 2021, five countries established all best practices in facility cause of death systems and five for community deaths. Vital statistics production and use saw five countries move from 'poor or 'improving' to 'good, and one country (colombia) moved from improving to 'excellent.' Data impact has trained more than 6,000 government officials, driven the development of 87 data reports, 31 policy briefs, 39 public health bulletin issues and implemented 18 digital solutions. These efforts have resulted in 22 institutional changes and 24 policy or programmatic changes. A highlight of 2021 was the continuation of the successful data to policy (d2p) program in 2021 after workshops were disrupted due to covid in 2020. As a result of d2p workshops, 18 policy briefs were developed and 2 were implemented. In china's shandong province, the weifang health commission has accepted the brief's recommendations for 2-stage colorectal cancer screening: fobt+ risk questionnaire followed by free colonoscopy for those testing positive in the first stage). The new screening program is now being implemented by 123 hospitals in weifang among residents with employee health insurance as part of a 5-year pilot. Following the pilot, the program will be expanded to the entire population. Additionally, in myanmar the national aids program has adopted the policy brief recommendation to provide syphilis treatment by midwives at primary health care centers as part of its treatment guidelines.as part of our cancer registry activity, Vital supported the production of the first-ever dhis2 module for non-communicable diseases and the first-ever population-based registry-led survival analysis in rwanda. In tanzania, Vital also helped to create two new pbcrs and enhanced two existing pbcrs, enhanced governance and institutionalization by supporting moh central coordination unit for cancer registration and strengthened demand for data, leading to first ever use of population-based cancer data in annual health sector review and renewed emphasis on cancer risk factor research and screenings. Vital started collaborating with the national cancer institute, ministry of health on population-based cancer registration in mid-2021 and supported the first-ever national standard operating procedures for cancer registration in vietnam. Lastly, in mozambique, zimbabwe, and sri lanka, work plans were approved in late 2021.
Tobacco control: in some countries, it took decades of work to build momentum, but targeted campaigns, alongside bi partner efforts, led to support for comprehensive tobacco control including historical smoke-free and taps policy in mexico and ukraine. Campaigns also planted the seeds for a comprehensive national win in india. Critical advances also occurred in indonesia, the philippines, bangladesh and turkey concerning taxes, pack warnings and enforcement. In china, our support was evident from new china cdc data that shows that 15% of the population (213 million people) are now covered by fctc-compliant smoke-free laws. Due to new investments made in country this year, we anticipate several additional mpower policies in 2022, not only in india, but also in bangladesh, indonesia, the philippines and vietnam from tax increases to smoke-free cities and beaches. As always, while pushing for mpower, we will also be vigilantly protecting what tobacco advocates have achieved in brazil, turkey and elsewhere and fight back against industry meddling and efforts to hook new customers: children.vital Strategies' partnerships with governments and research-based messaging, which focused on the harms caused by tobacco and encourage behavior change, reached almost 2 billion people in 2021. Fifteen national and subnational policies were strengthened via 83 integrated campaigns in 11 priority countries. Our outreach also received 1,074 press mentions in notable media outlets including the telegraph and cnn. 2021 brought 15 impressive mpower achievements across 9 countries: indonesia implemented a 12% average increase in excise taxes on all tobacco products in late 2021. In turkey, groundwork has been set for a cigarette tax increase in january 2022. Six new regions added or tightened smoke-free regulations, which now protect almost 200 million people. These regulations are now implemented in all of mexico and ukraine as part of new comprehensive tobacco control laws; the cities of xining and hangzhou, china; and public spaces in bandung and jakarta, indonesia.four countries regulated ends, additives, and flavors. Ukraine's new law now regulates e-cigarette products the same as conventional tobacco products, and mexico's new smoke-free law includes bans on new products in public places. The philippines is now the first country to have health warnings on all ends products. Similarly, after a ten-year struggle, brazil banned flavors and additives in all tobacco products. Two countries will have stronger pack warnings on tobacco products. Pack warnings increased to 92.5% of the package in turkey, tying with timor-leste for the largest in the world. In the philippines as well, Vital helped the moh to create new pack warning labels for cigarettes. Three countries implemented a taps ban, which now protects millions including youth. In mexico and ukraine, taps bans are included in the countries' new comprehensive laws. Ukraine's law now protects citizens from tobacco advertising, including for e-cigarettes. In jakarta, indonesia, the new law includes a taps ban that prevents advertising at all point-of-sale sites. In india, the state of jharkhand amended its law, in line with an anticipated new national cotpa law, to include bans on smokeless tobacco and spitting.in bangladesh, we supported three policy wins, including new government guidelines to implement tobacco control funds and activities at the local level, as well as an earmarking mechanism for funds for tobacco control enforcement. A total of 35 mass media campaigns and 48 social media campaigns across priority countries set the stage for stronger policies, supported enforcement and cessation, and encouraged concerns about the harms of e-cigarettes. Our energized base of social media supporters grew to 1.8 million.
Other program services include:- air pollution and health- childhood lead poisoning prevention- civil registration and Vital statistics- food policy- overdose prevention- partnership for healthy cities- research- road safety