The Novartis Foundation works with city authorities and other partners to co-design and implement fast, adaptive responses to cardiovascular disease - the world's leading cause of death.

Cardiovascular diseases take almost 18 million lives per year, with three-quarters of these deaths occurring in low- and middle-income countries. The emergence of cardiovascular diseases as a key risk factor for COVID-19 complications is yet another reason for urgently addressing heart health at the population level.

The Novartis Foundation is working with the governments of São Paulo, Brazil, and Dakar, Senegal, on the population health approach to cardiovascular disease. New city partners will be announced in 2021. Population health approaches prioritize reducing health inequalities, promoting partnerships and public health initiatives, and maximizing the application of technology to strengthen health systems.

The Novartis Foundation built its approach to improving cardiovascular health in urban populations on evidence and tools from Better Hearts Better Cities. This initiative developed powerful proof for how cities can improve cardiovascular health in their populations – improving health outcomes dramatically after just 18-24 months of implementation. We achieved this by combining resources and expertise from multidisciplinary partners, gathered behind the single agenda of improving population health, and monitoring progress against precise measurable targets.

A HealthTech and data-driven approach

The use of real-time data is a powerful enabler to optimize resources and drive evidence-based policymaking. Together with city authorities, we rethink how to collect and analyze data, and use advanced analytics to map and track inequalities in cardiovascular health and their determinants. This data-driven approach can enable decision-makers to choose the health interventions that can lead to health for all.

The cardiovascular population health initiative also incorporates emerging HealthTech innovations and an interactive self-assessment tool for countries to define their readiness to deploy data- and AI-driven innovations in health, based on the Broadband Commission’s 2020 Roadmap to AI Maturity in health.