The full article was originally published on the Vital Strategies website.
The first LINKS grant awardees, who received a total of 1.25 million US dollars, were announced on March 20th 2019 by Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies. LINKS is an online community and resource-shaping platform that connects people working to improve cardiovascular health around the world. The program is funded by Resolve to Save Lives and implemented by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the CDC Foundation, and Resolve to Save Lives. LINKS members are eligible to apply for one-time grants to improve cardiovascular health in their communities.
“Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the world. Most of these deaths are preventable, and most occur in low- and middle-income countries”, said Dr. Tom Frieden, President and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives. “LINKS is building a community of champions working to promote cardiovascular health around the world by connecting leading experts with each other and providing one-time, catalytic grants”.
The grant funding will be divided among government and civil society organisations. It will advance cardiovascular health programs in Bhutan, Cameroon, Jamaica, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Timor Leste, Uganda and Vietnam. The grants were awarded to programs that focus on one of three approaches to improving heart health: managing high blood pressure, reducing salt intake, and eliminating trans fat.
“A staggering one of every three deaths worldwide are linked to heart attack, stroke, and related conditions”, said Dr. Etienne Krug, Director of the WHO Department of Noncommunicable Diseases. “Addressing this public health crisis by ensuring better prevention and treatment will improve the health and well-being of so many people. LINKS is a catalyst to rapidly address cardiovascular health in low- and middle-income countries, laying the groundwork to save countless lives”.
“It is important for us all to share knowledge, best practices and lessons learned by collectively working together to address cardiovascular disease challenges”, said Judith Monroe, MD, president and CEO of the CDC Foundation. “In support of LINKS, the CDC Foundation is pleased to work with other partners to provide support to countries around the world seeking technical assistance aimed at improving heart health”.
The SUN Business Network received a grant to promote the replacement of artificial trans fat by implementing the WHO REPLACE technical package in emerging markets, targeting businesses in our Pakistan and Nigeria country networks. The project will lead to better knowledge of trans fat production in the food value chain, implementation of trans fat replacement solutions and increased awareness of the need for national strategies for trans fat replacement.