Mike Bloomberg’s Bloomberg Philanthropies announced additional funding for Resolve to Save Lives (RTSL), a global public health non-profit organization focused on preventing deaths from heart disease. Heart attacks and strokes are the leading cause of death worldwide, and over the past five years RTSL has demonstrated that prevention is possible at scale. Bloomberg Philanthropies’ new commitment of $115 million over the next five years will support Resolve to Save Lives’ goal of saving 100 million lives from cardiovascular disease by 2047. This announcement follows a 2017 investment of $100 million from Bloomberg Philanthropies that launched RTLS’s Cardiovascular Health programs bringing the total investment from Bloomberg Philanthropies to RTSL to $215 million.
“Resolve to Save Lives is showing that we can prevent deaths from heart disease through simple interventions like eliminating artificial trans fats in the food supply, reducing sodium intake, and managing blood pressure levels,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, Founder of Blomberg Philanthropies and WHO Global Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases and Injuries. “Given the encouraging progress they’ve been making, I’m looking forward to seeing what they accomplish over the next five years and beyond.”
As the world emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is vital global public health efforts simultaneously double down on efforts to prevent non-communicable diseases such as heart disease which is a leading, yet preventable comorbidity. Cardiovascular deaths are highest in low-and-middle-income countries (LMICs), where they disproportionately affect younger, working-aged people. The economic costs of premature death and disability from heart diseases are enormous: Between 2011–2025, the estimated financial loss due to heart attack and stroke in LMICs is $3.7 trillion, representing 2% of the entire world’s gross domestic product.
In this next phase of funding, Resolve to Save Lives’ Cardiovascular Health programs will work to further reduce preventable deaths from heart attack and stroke by scaling up three proven, life-saving strategies that directly reduce risk factors for heart disease:
Trans Fat Elimination: Resolve to Save Lives will work to keep trans fat out of food in more than 30 additional countries through policy change, protecting more than 80% of the global population from this harmful, unnecessary chemical.
Sodium Reduction: By demonstrating, documenting, and disseminating strategies to reduce sodium intake, Resolve to Save Lives will continue work with low- and middle-income governments to reduce salt in food. These strategies include promotion of low-sodium salt substitutes, nutritional standards for foods sold and served in government facilities such as schools and hospitals, and implementation of mandatory salt targets for packaged food.
Hypertension Control and Treatment: Resolve to Save Lives will expand treatment of high blood pressure to reach more than 40 million patients across 31 countries by 2027, while promoting global policies to advance best practices in hypertension programs, including simple treatment protocols, reliable supply of medications, expanding the role of nurses and community health workers in care, reducing barriers to patient adherence, and strengthening data collection for rapid and continuous quality improvement.
“Funding for preventing and treating heart disease is far below what is needed and justified by the large burden. Since 2000, external funding for heart disease prevention in LMICs has stagnated, and currently accounts for less than 2% of total development aid for health,” said Dr. Tom Frieden, President and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives. “We are immensely grateful to Bloomberg Philanthropies for continuing to fund and partner with us on this life-saving effort.”
To date, Bloomberg Philanthropies has supported Resolve to Save Lives to work with local partners to help 32 countries pass trans-fat bans, establish and expand effective diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring of high blood pressure in 21 countries, and identify the highest-impact interventions to reduce salt intake and influence global policy.
“We need to overcome the perception that deaths from heart disease are inevitable and spur global action to help people live longer, healthier lives,” said Dr. Renu Garg, Senior Vice President of Cardiovascular Health at Resolve to Save Lives. “In this next phase, Resolve to Save Lives will improve cardiovascular health not only by expanding access to quality hypertension treatment and supporting nutrition policies that target salt and trans fat, but also by working with global and country leaders to make heart health a priority.”
Resolve to Save Lives works with global and regional partners including the World Health Organization, Global Health Advocacy Incubator, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, World Bank, and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
Resolve to Save Lives is a not-for-profit organization partnering with countries, communities and organizations to prevent 100 million deaths from cardiovascular disease and make the world safer from epidemics.
Bloomberg Philanthropies invests in 941 cities and 173 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: the Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation, and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s giving, including his foundation, corporate, and personal philanthropy as well as Bloomberg Associates, a pro bono consultancy that works in cities around the world. In 2021, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $1.66 billion.