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World Heart Federation Members Participate in WHO Regional Meetings

Throughout August and September, a number of Members of the World Heart Federation participated in the Committee Meetings for four WHO (World Health Organization) regions: Africa, Europe, Southeast Asia and the Americas.

Taking place annually, the regional meetings are held to determine regional health policy and to approve programmes of work, and each of the 6 WHO regional meetings is guided by a specific agenda.

The Pan-African Society of Cardiology (PASCAR), Dutch Heart Foundation (DHF), Tiny Hearts of Maldives (THM) and the Inter-American Heart Foundation (IAHF) all participated in their respective regions to promote cardiovascular health and advocate to governments on the urgent need for action on heart disease and stroke.

Following the decision by the WHO Executive Board in June to recommend a Resolution on rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease for adoption in 2018, the Regional Meetings also offered a valuable opportunity to further press the case for global policy on this preventable disease.

Policy Statements at the Regional Meetings

At the Regional Meeting for Africa – held in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe – WHF were represented by Jeremiah Mwangi of the World Heart Federation and Associate Professor Liesl Zühlke of PASCAR and the University of Cape Town. Policy statements at this meeting focused on the need to include RHD interventions in universal health coverage packages and on the contribution of environmental determinants to CVD risk.

In the following week, Professor Anita Saxena of the All India Institute for Medical Sciences and Jeehan Mahmood (THM) participated in the regional meeting for Southeast Asia in Malé, the Maldives.

At both the SEARO meeting and European regional meeting in Budapest – attended by Dr Anne Belonje (DHF) – delegates delivered policy statements on access to medicines, drawing attention to ongoing shortages of benzathine penicillin G (BPG) – the essential antibiotic for primary and secondary prevention of rheumatic fever and RHD – and the need to increase the resources allocated to CVD medicines in national health budgets.

Taking place in the final week of September, the 29th Pan-American Sanitary Conference was attended by Beatriz Champagne of IAHF, who advocated strongly on healthy eating, the importance of non-communicable diseases to sustainable development, and rheumatic heart disease.

Looking Ahead

Two regional meetings still remain – these will take place this month, and will be held in:

Stay tuned to receive more updates via Members’ News, social media and our website.

You can read the World Heart Federation’s policy statements in full here.

Some photos from the regional meetings:

SEARO

Jeehan Mahmood (left) and Prof. Anita Saxena (centre)

AFRO

EURO

Anne Belonje delivers policy statement on access to CVD medicines

PAHO

Diana Vaca McGhie (left) and Beatriz Champagne (right) with Dr. Tedros (centre)

Beatriz Champagne delivers statement on rheumatic heart disease