Global Policy Call

The World Heart Federation calls on all governments to implement reliable and fit for purpose surveillance and monitoring systems for cardiovascular disease (CVD) in order to better prevent, treat and control the world’s biggest killer.

The World Heart Federation is emphasizing the need to ensure that every country has information on the World Health Organization Global Action Plan (GAP) Targets and a set of measures or indicators on quality of care appropriate to a range of contexts including the primary healthcare level.

This call is tied to the strengthening of health systems, in particular monitoring and surveillance, by providing complementary recommendations to governments drawn from the World Health Organization NCD Global Action Plan 2013-2020 and the Health Data Collaborative, supported by the World Bank, USAID and WHO.

In establishing systems for monitoring the burden and treatment of CVD, governments should prioritize the following actions:

  • Strengthen vital and cause of death registration systems (to better record statistics on births and causes of death)
  • Include details of CVD key interventions (for example services provided, numbers of people being treated) in existing health information systems
  • Collect information on a representative subsample of the population on the prevalence and quality of care of patients with hypertension and CVD; and undertake periodic data collection on the behavioural and metabolic risk factors (harmful use of alcohol, physical inactivity, tobacco use, unhealthy diet, overweight and obesity, raised blood pressure, raised blood glucose, and hyperlipidemia), and determinants of risk exposure such as marketing of food, tobacco and alcohol in a sub sample of the population.

Why is this needed?

  • To monitor public health/health system interventions
  • To support evidence-based advocacy, policy development and coordinated action
  • To ensure that appropriate prevention and treatment services are provided based on need
  • To reinforce political commitment to prevent and control CVD

What will the impact of these actions be?

  • Develop and/or strengthen CVD surveillance capacity
  • Effective national and regional policies for the prevention and treatment of CVD
  • Progress towards meeting the Global Monitoring Framework (GMF) Targets including; reduction in raised blood pressure, reduction in tobacco use, improved access to essential medicines and technologies, improved access to drug therapy and counselling
  • Every country has reliable information on
    • CVD mortality
    • Prevalence of CVD (number of people living with CVD)
    • Prevalence of CVD risk factors (at least hypertension and smoking)
    • Quality of preventive, primary and acute care

Further resources

The World Heart Federation has produced the following to provide further support for this global policy call:

  • Template letter for organizations to send to governments outlining the need to strengthen surveillance and monitoring of cardiovascular health.
  • CVD World Monitor: a data visualization tool that brings to life World Health Organization data for the GAP Targets, country by country, and will be developed in the coming months to include further indicators of CVD. To be launched on World Heart Day.
  • Policy brief exploring how countries and regions collect data on cardiovascular disease with a focus on premature mortality caused by CVD.