Much of the Novartis Foundation’s focus today is on pioneering healthcare models that address the growing crisis of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in low- and middle-income countries, starting with cardiovascular disease and its main risk factor hypertension. On September 29, we commemorated World Heart Day by looking at the programs we are running. The Community-based Hypertension Improvement Project (ComHIP) in Ghana and the Ho Chi Minh City Communities for Healthy Hearts Program in Vietnam are already having an impact on real people, families and communities – from the perspective of both those who run them and those who benefit from them.
We have committed ourselves to the fight against non-communicable diseases for the long-term. How can we be sure we’ll stick with it not only over years, but even decades? Because we’ve done it before. Our work in the fight against leprosy has been running for 30 years, and even today we are still innovating, devising novel strategies to fully interrupt the transmission of the disease.
What’s even more exciting is that some of the approaches we are spearheading may not only be effective interventions to stem the spread of leprosy, but potentially other hard-to-eliminate infectious diseases as well. We’ve gathered a lot of experience in leprosy over the years, and we plan on using that evidence as a strong basis to nourish our programmatic work, now and in the future.
We have also launched our presence on LinkedIn this month - follow us here to keep up to date with the latest news from our projects.
Novartis Foundation shows progress in leprosy elimination programs at 19th International Leprosy Congress
The 19th International Leprosy Congress (ILC), held in Beijing, China from September 18 – 21, was an opportunity for leprosy experts, including the Novartis Foundation, to convene and review the progress being made in the fight against the disease.
Keynotes, posters and abstracts presented at the ILC showed progress on the main programs under the Novartis Foundation strategy toward zero transmission of leprosy. The strategy was launched in 2013 and prioritizes early detection and treatment, contact tracing and preventative treatment, strengthening of surveillance systems to become action-oriented and developing tools for faster and earlier diagnosis.
Photos from our projects: Communities for Healthy Hearts
Nearly a quarter of the adult population in Vietnam has hypertension, but only 11% of these hypertensives have their condition under control. The Ho Chi Minh City Communities for Healthy Hearts program is the second innovative healthcare model for hypertension pioneered by the Novartis Foundation.
Globally, complications from hypertension and high blood pressure account for 9.4 million deaths each year – equivalent to all infectious diseases combined.
In urban areas of Vietnam, 33% of individuals suffer from hypertension, with Ho Chi Minh City being home to the largest urban population in the country.
Carried out in four districts in Ho Chi Minh City, Communities for Healthy Hearts will leverage new opportunities to hypertension management, by introducing social entrepreneurs to access points for cardiovascular health education and screening services.
Digital health technology will empower patients in self-management and increase patient-to-provider contact, and learnings from this program will be evaluated to inform expansion of hypertension control efforts in Vietnam.