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Programme

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND | 24-26 MAY 2024

The Summit will convene world leaders in cardiovascular health in the heart of global health diplomacy, just ahead of the 77th World Health Assembly.

Summit venue: Biotech Campus, Geneva

Saturday, 25 May
Sunday, 26 May

Daniel Piñeiro

President

WHF

Jean-Luc Eiselé

CEO

WHF

Health and climate change are inextricably linked: Rising temperatures and poor air quality can worsen cardiovascular and respiratory conditions, while extreme heat can also lead to heat-related illnesses. This opening plenary will focus on:

  • The findings from the latest World Heart Report, showing the links between CVD and air pollution.
  • The importance of prioritizing health in climate action at the global level as a strategic and moral imperative.

The perspective from LMICs, that are the most impacted by extreme weather events resulting in negative health outcomes, to amplify  messaging around the urgency of addressing the climate crisis.

Speakers:

Mark Miller

Senior Research Fellow

University of Edinburgh

Maria Neira

Director of Environment, Climate change and health

WHO

Prabhakaran Dorairaj

WHF Board member & Vice-President

PHFI

Achieving UHC is essential in addressing the global burden of cardiovascular disease. CVD is a major driver of out-of-pocket health expenditure, leading to poverty and undermining development. This Ministerial panel will showcase examples from countries in different regions that scaled up efforts to achieve UHC, highlighting country strategies to boost financing for NCDs and particularly CVD, discussing challenges experienced in the process, but also demonstrating that it is not an unattainable goal.

Speakers:

Mario Antonio Russo

Minister of Health

Argentina

Cardiovascular disease, including ischemic heart disease, congenital heart disease and RHD, among other conditions, require a comprehensive health system approach to ensure sustainable lifelong care at all levels of the health system, which is integrated with other services or spaces in the community. This session will start discussing common obstacles undermining the management of common CVD, ranging from delayed diagnosis, to missed opportunities for screening, minimal access to therapeutics, interventions and surgeries, lack of long term follow up and care, as well as awareness raising and advocacy. The discussion will focus on:

  • Effective health system and health care approaches to address these obstacles and improve the management of CVD, particularly in LMICs;

Examples of how such approaches have been successfully implemented in different contexts and address implementation challenges that may arise when scaling up.

Speakers:

Joumana Atallah

Brave Heart

Lebanon

Ratna Devi

CEO and Co-Founder

DakshamA Health and Education

Mohammed Abdulaziz

Africa CDC

Factors beyond genetics influence the heart health of individuals and communities. The so-called determinants of health include socio-economic condition, individual behaviours, environmental and commercial factors.

This session will discuss:

  • Strategies and initiatives aimed at reducing health disparities, including improving access and affordability of care and treatment for underserved population.
  • Efforts to increase access to healthy foods and initiatives promoting healthy habits and food security.
  • Urban planning and policies that promote active transportation options, walkable neighbourhoods and green spaces.
  • Approaches to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in CV health.

Speakers:

Stephan Achenbach

ESC

J. Nwando Olayiwola.

CEO

Inspire Health Solutions, LLC

Latifat Okara

The Economist

This debate session will feature two opposing viewpoints on AI deployment in CV health:

 

  • The first view will illustrate the different benefits of leveraging the AI potential in CV health in both HICs and LMICs, ranging from improved diagnostics, potential risk prediction and improved patient outcomes through precision medicine and personalized treatment plans.

The opposing view will instead present the risks that such technologies pose to health care, including issues of ethics and privacy, potential erosion of the patient-provider relationship and the risk that excessive focus on AI might divert resources from other critical aspects of healthcare, as well as their limitations.

Speakers:

Dipti Itchhaporia

American College of Cardiology

Sri Vasireddy

REAN Foundation

The growth of virtual platforms has been a blessing and a curse in many respects. While it is tempting to focus on the scourge of fake news, we must recognise that there are other challenges, some as basic as revisiting the importance of speaking about health and equity, of understanding who has the power to influence and change things for the better and meeting them where they are. This session gives WHF, partners, stakeholders, and others much food for thought and the impetus to build on strong foundations.

The connection between CVD and mental health is a critical area of concern and yet remains still inexplored. The aim of this session is to:

  • Explore the scientific evidence and mechanisms linking depression and anxiety to elevated risks of CVD, including stroke and ischemic heart disease.
  • Discuss the interplay between addiction to harmful substances, between tobacco and alcohol, and their impact on cardiovascular health.

Discuss public health policies and strategies for healthcare providers to screen for CVD risk in people experiencing mental health disorders and effectively address the two silent killers.

Speakers:

Catherine Karekezi

Kenya NCD Alliance

Samuel Sears

East Carolina University

Nadine Kasparian

Director

Heart and Mind WellBeing Centre

The WHO HEARTS Technical Package serves as a comprehensive guide for improving cardiovascular care. In this session, we will dissect the current state of HEARTS implementation in different regions, highlighting challenges and obstacles, but also examples of success. We will also have a more forward-looking discussion, discussing the evolving landscape of HEARTS and its relevance in the context of technological innovations and how it can stay ahead in the ever-evolving field of cardiovascular health

This session will discuss gender-specific risk factors for CVD, as well as challenges related to diagnostics and treatment approaches that are specific to women.

  • It will highlight that underrepresentation of women in clinical studies is a root cause for the current evidence and practice gaps, undermining cardiovascular management for women and resulting in negative health outcomes.
  • It will seek to explain the reasons behind underrepresentation of women in clinical trials and suggest key actions that need to be implemented to ensured better inclusion of women in research.
  • It will touch on healthcare disparities, particularly with regards to access and quality, including issues of underdiagnosis and undertreatment that are negatively impacting CVD outcomes.

Speakers:

ShantaQuilette Carter-Williams

CVD Patient Advocate and Comedian

Celina Gorre,

CEO

WomenHeart

The consumption of ultra processed food (UPF) represents a major risk factor for two of the biggest challenges of our times: CVD and climate change. The production of UPF contributes considerably to deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as water usage. At the same time, regular consumption of UPF has been linked to an increased risk of CVD, due to their unhealthy levels of harmful fats, sodium and added sugars, which may contribute to obesity, high blood pressure and other CVD risk factors.

 

  • This session will highlight the interconnection between climate change, CVD and UPF consumption as a considerable contributing factor to both climate change and CVD.

It will also showcase policies and strategies to decrease UPF consumption and demonstrate their benefits in both reducing CVD and mitigating the impact of climate change.

Speakers:

Fabio Gomes

Advisor on Nutrition and Physical Activity

PAHO

Thomas Sanders

Professor, Nutritional Sciences

King’s College London

The UN HLM on NCDs will be an opportunity for countries to reiterate and strengthen their commitment to addressing the epidemic of NCDs and approve a bolder Political Declaration, based on available evidence. The WHF will take this opportunity to present its advocacy campaign on prioritizing CVD in the 2025 UN HLM on NCDs and delve into the key challenges and priorities for CV health that lie ahead.

The discussion will also unpack strategies, share insights and propose collaborative actions to ensure CV health remains at the forefront of global NCD agendas.

Speakers:

Leslie Rae Ferat

Executive Director

Global Alliance for Tobacco Control

Bent Lautrup Nielsen

Head of Global Development and Advocacy

World Diabetes Foundation

Kristin Aakre

Professor, Department of Clinical Science

University of Bergen