This year, WHF is inspiring millions of people around the world to be Heart Heroes… by making, and keeping, a promise to look after theirs, their relatives' and their friends' hearts
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the world's biggest cause of death, killing 17.9 million people a year: in comparison, HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined kill 3 million [(WHO)]
Not all hearts are equal … but they should be
World Heart Day is the biggest awareness-raising platform for CVD and this year we are using it to shine a spotlight on heart health inequities. One of the most pressing issues remains access to essential cardiovascular medicines: 2 billion people, around one-third of the population, lack access to the medicines they need, mostly affecting those in underserved countries, regions or isolated areas within cities.1
In all income settings there is also increasing evidence that higher rates of cardiovascular events and barriers to accessing healthcare are linked to socio economic determinants of health, including education and health awareness.2
Professor Karen Sliwa, WHF President, comments: "Within my home country of South Africa, as in so many areas of the world, certain population groups are affluent with access to excellent education and health care, while the majority remain poorly educated, residing in absolute or relative poverty. No matter where in the world they occur, socio economic determinants of health and poverty have profound effects on CVD patterns and its prevention, worsened by late diagnosis and limited access to various forms of diseases management. Along with targeted advocacy, World Heart Day plays an important part in WHF's strategy to raise awareness of these issues and spread the message of heart-healthy lifestyles in all populations."
My Heart, Your Heart
World Heart Day aims to combat the rising number of people with CVD and champion heart health equity. On 29 September, people around the world unite to fight CVD by making and sharing their own campaign posters, holding awareness activities, spreading the word on social media, sharing the campaign videos, organizing fundraising activities for their local heart foundation and illuminating iconic landmarks, buildings or monuments.
Veronika Wirtz et al, "Essential Medicine for Universal Health Coverage," The Lancet Commissions, The Lancet, (2017):422
Mayagah Kanj and Wayne Mitic, "Health Literacy," paper presented as a working document for discussion at the 7th Global Conference on Health Promotion, "Promoting Health and Development: Closing the Implementation Gap," Nairobi, Kenya, October 2019, 20.