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Global Advocacy

What Is Advocacy for CVD?

The World Heart Federation leads the global advocacy effort for action to prevent, control and reduce the global burden of CVD (cardiovascular disease). This includes calling for policies that will lead to better heart health, responding to consultations on relevant issues that affect CVD, speaking to decision-makers about the impact of their choices for people living with heart conditions and working with stakeholders to find solutions for common challenges facing the CVD community. 

From its strategic location in Geneva, Switzerland, the World Heart Federation’s advocacy specialists work with the World Health Organization, United Nations, and other international bodies to influence global policies, development strategies, and funding allocations to enable all decision-makers to make CVD a priority issue in their work.

The World Heart Federation advocacy strategy is focused on achieving ’25 by 25’: by the year 2025, we aim to reduce premature deaths from CVD by 25%. This ambitious target can only be achieved with consistent, evidence-based advocacy directed at decision-makers, to encourage them to act in the interest of heart health. 

Read more about ’25 by 25’ here


Some key words and acronyms:

Advocacy – The action of providing sound, evidence-based solutions to decision-makers on a particular topic. 

Advocate – An individual who practices advocacy. Advocates talk to key decision-makers in order to influence their priorities and provide evidence-based solutions. 

CVD (cardiovascular disease) – Diseases of the heart and vascular system, including heart disease and stroke. These diseases have historically been overlooked and under-funded by decision-makers, but recent advocacy efforts are bringing more attention and resources to CVD.

Decision-maker – An individual or organization with the power to implement solutions for impactful change. Examples include politicians, civil servants, and international bureaucrats.

Global health agenda – The range of health topics and issues facing the world at any given time. These topics can be disease-specific (e.g. malaria, HIV/AIDS), systems-based (e.g. essential medicines, health worker training), or more abstract (e.g. universal health coverage). CVD advocates are responsible to make sure CVD is well-represented on the global health agenda.

NCDs (Non-Communicable Diseases) – Chronic diseases which are non-infectious. The four main NCDs are CVD, diabetes, cancers and lung diseases. Advocacy for CVD is often framed within the broader advocacy movement for NCDs, as they share several risk factors and are conceptually similar. 

Policy – A course of principles or actions proposed or adopted by a group of individuals. A policy is a statement of intent, and is implemented as a procedure or protocol. International organizations like the WHO and UN are both governed by policies, and also set policies for the rest of the world to follow. 

UN (United Nations) – Founded in 1945, the UN convenes its 193 Member States (countries) in order to achieve consensus on some of the world’s most pressing global issues, including health. 

WHO (World Health Organization) – Founded in 1947, the WHO is the public health arm of the UN. It is based in Geneva, and is responsible for directing and coordinating all of the UN’s work on health, including NCDs and CVD.