Skip to content

The Year in Review: WHF’s achievements and highlights of 2019

18 Dec 2019

A letter from WHF President Professor Karen Sliwa:

Dear Friends,

As we approach the end of 2019, I am thrilled to be able to look back on what has been a truly remarkable year for both the World Heart Federation and the global cardiovascular community as a whole.

In August, we held our first joint Congress with the European Society of Cardiology, which attracted an extraordinary 33,000 delegates, and convened global health leaders at the 4th Global Summit on Circulatory Health to explore technological innovations and their implications for cardiovascular health.

2019 was also the year of the first United Nations High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage (UHC), where we convened Ministers of Finance from different regions and launched a ground-breaking report examining the attitudes and beliefs of Finance Ministries toward taxing tobacco and other harmful products to help fund UHC at the national level.

In October, we welcomed the sixth cohort of WHF Emerging Leaders – a programme created just five years ago and which has already developed into a 150-strong expert community of global health leaders. This year, a team of Emerging Leaders, supported by WHF, led the effort to add new oral anticoagulants (NOACs) to the World Health Organization Essential Medicines List, a critical step to improve the availability and affordability of these important drugs.

Over the last year, we stepped up our efforts against neglected cardiovascular diseases. During the World Health Assembly in May, we supported the ultimately successful effort to establish an official World Chagas Day, and our RHD Taskforce, a global community of leaders and advocates who are working to consign rheumatic heart disease (RHD) to the history books, has been working tirelessly to secure improved access to the essential drug benzathine penicillin G in low-resource settings.

We have also committed to taking bold action to address the impact of air pollution on people’s health. Our newly formed Air Pollution Expert Group is advocating for further research on the link between air quality and heart health, calling on policymakers to implement air pollution reduction policies, and supporting the development of clinical guidelines on air pollution and cardiovascular health.

Our community has never been stronger, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our Members and Partners for your loyalty, friendship and support over the past year. It is only by working together that we can make a real difference to people’s lives, and I very much look forward to our continued journey together in 2020.

With my very best wishes,

Prof Karen Sliwa

President, World Heart Federation