This year World Heart Day fell right in the middle of the UN General Assembly which World Heart Federation Board members, senior leaders and our Advocacy team attended.
On 25 September, New York, Member States adopted the Sustainable Development Goals, including a goal on NCDs. This is an historic moment, and the result of commitment and hard work by the wonderful team and volunteers of WHF and the larger CVD and NCD communities. As you can see from the infographic of the global goals, we are “at the heart of” the health goals, and firmly and finally on the agenda.
Also on 25 September World Heart Federation participated in two high level panels inside the United Nations: Board Vice President Dr. Vash Mungal-Singh joined UN Special Envoy on Ebola; David Nabarro and others on a panel on innovation for health; and CEO Johanna Ralston joined Ministers of Health of Russia, South Africa and Armenia, as well as WHO Director General Margaret Chan, on a panel organized by the WHO and the Government of Russia to celebrate the passage of the SDGs.
The previous evening, AHA President Mark Creager spoke at an event organized by the NCD Alliance to celebrate the transition of the role of steering group chair to Jose Castro of The Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union) and vice chair to Johanna Ralston. We were also delighted when Dr Margaret Chan, Director General of the World Health Organization, posed for a Healthy Heart Selfie, as did ministers of health, including Dr Aaron Motsoaledi of South Africa.
The World Heart Federation also participated in a panel dedicated to Urban Health in Sustainable Development, which brought together stakeholders from the many disciplines and sectors affecting urban health to exchange knowledge, policies and practices that promote the health of individuals in urban areas. Dr. Poonam Singh, director general of WHO SEARO, gave the keynote and the event was organized by WHF member Eminence with the New York Academy of Medicine and International Society for Urban Health.
On World Heart Day itself, to bring RHD to the world stage and demonstrate the links with outcomes of the United Nations Summit to adopt the Post-2015 development agenda in New York, the RHD Action Alliance launched ‘RHD Action’ – the global movement to reduce the burden of RHD in vulnerable populations of all ages throughout the world. This global partnership between Medtronic Philanthropy, RhEACH and the World Heart Federation is the first of its scale with the aim of consigning the blight of RHD to history. Speakers included Australian former PM Kevin Rudd and patients living with RHD.
The World Heart Day theme of healthy heart choices for everyone, everywhere has never been more fitting than now. In the words of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, speaking at the opening ceremony of the UNGA Summit: “The new agenda is a promise by leaders to all people everywhere. It is a universal, integrated and transformative vision for a better world.”