Better Hearts Better Cities

Partnership objectives

Better Hearts Better Cities is a Novartis Foundation initiative to improve cardiovascular health in low-income urban populations. Better Hearts Better Cities seeks to achieve this through a multisector approach addressing hypertension and its underlying risk factors in a sustainable way at scale.

 

Through its focus on hypertension, Better Hearts Better Cities aspires to reimagine the way chronic diseases can be prevented and managed, as an example that can be applied to other noncommunicable diseases.

Over 10 million people are estimated to die from hypertension and high blood pressure globally every year. Over 10 million people are estimated to die from hypertension and high blood pressure globally every year. Copyright Onom Foundation

What are the health needs and challenges?

Over 10 million people are estimated to die from hypertension (high blood pressure) globally every year. Hypertension is the prime risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Hypertension often doesn’t show any symptoms and so is often referred to as the “silent killer.” If left unaddressed, it can lead to heart disease, stroke or kidney failure.

There is a lot of evidence on how to prevent, treat and manage hypertension but it continues to be poorly controlled, especially in low- and middle-income countries. Although the problem of hypertension is a global challenge, low- and middle-income countries are hit the hardest. Rapid urbanization seems to be a key driver of this increasing burden.

Health systems in low- and middle-income countries are mainly geared toward acute care and are often not set up to provide care for chronic diseases like cardiovascular health problems. Patients also face barriers to seeking and following treatment, for example affordability and the patient’s capacity to pay for the care they need.

Description of partnership activities and how they address needs and challenges 

Today's urban health challenges are complex, involving factors as broad as lifestyle choices, diet, transport, workplace practices and air pollution. These challenges are systemic and cannot be tackled by one organization alone. We believe that by collaborating with local and global partners across a range of sectors, we can co-design and implement holistic solutions for healthier cities and communities.

To achieve this, Better Hearts Better Cities builds networks of partners, reaching beyond the health sector. Partners can include healthcare providers but also digital and telecommunication organizations, food suppliers, employers, insurance funds, social enterprises and civil societies. Made up of both public and private organizations, these networks operate globally and at the local level.

This multisector approach aims to integrate complementary capabilities and resources to tackle hypertension from health literacy and lifestyle choices, to prevention, screening, diagnosis and patient management.

Crucial to the success of Better Hearts Better Cities is local ownership; not only to build a network of implementation partners, but to achieve longer-term impact and sustainability by working with local governments to strengthen health systems.

Summary of impact and forward looking information 

Initially, Better Hearts Better Cities will demonstrate the approach in Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia), Dakar (Senegal) and Sao Paulo (Brazil). These first cities aim to establish conditions for the successful integration of Better Hearts Better Cities in other cities worldwide.

Through its focus on hypertension, Better Hearts Better Cities aspires to create an approach for chronic disease prevention and care, particularly in low-income urban communities.
Learnings from Better Hearts Better Cities in each city will be applied to the other sites, as well as shared with the global health community.

Learnings from Better Hearts Better Cities will help to advance the common agenda of the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly goals 3 and 17, by translating global goals to local agendas.

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Better Hearts Better Cities

Partnership information

Company(ies) Novartis

Partner(s) American Heart Association, CDC Foundation, Intel, IntraHealth International, NCD Alliance, Onom Foundation, PATH

Type of Partner(s) NGOs, Other Business, Professional Associations

Therapeutic Focus Non-Communicable Diseases

Disease(s) Cardiovascular Diseases, Hypertension

Program Type(s) Availability of Treatment - Technology Transfer - Scientific Collaboration and Knowledge Sharing, Health System Infrastructure - Outreach & Medical Services, Health System Infrastructure - Training, Prevention Programs - Awareness & Outreach, Research & Development - Operations Research

Region(s) East Asia & Pacific, Latin America & Caribbean, Sub-Saharan Africa

Number of Countries 3

Country(ies) Brazil, Mongolia, Senegal

Start Date 2017

More information NCD Alliance Onom Foundation

Anticipated completion date Ongoing

« Cities in LMICs can be made healthier places only through close collaboration, with clear benefits to be gained by employers, governments and communities alike in taking joint action to support a healthy workforce. »

Katie Dain, Executive Director of the NCD Alliance