Global Coalition for Circulatory Health calls for major investment in circulatory health to help prevent the next pandemic

The Global Coalition for Circulatory Health – of which IDF is a member – has published the Position Paper “Preventing the Next Pandemic: The Case for Investing in Circulatory Health”, calling for increased investment in circulatory health to prepare for, or even prevent, the next pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the millions of people living with noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) around the world. People living with diabetes, cardiovascular disease (CVD), stroke, obesity, kidney disease and hypertension are at greater risk of experiencing the more severe forms of COVID-19 and its consequences, including death. The virus has also been associated with increased mortality beyond that related to the infection itself and its immediate consequences. Interruptions to care for people living with NCDs have exacerbated their exposure to negative health outcomes.

The Global Coalition is calling for increased support for the healthcare workforce, equity in both the global distribution of vaccines and access to care, better use of new and innovative models of care and digital health solutions, and fiscal policies targeting unhealthy commodities to support these investments.

The Position Paper includes a set of recommendations to support governments in their efforts to prepare for future pandemics during this critical time:

  • Prevent, screen, and treat for circulatory conditions through national COVID-19 response and recovery plans via concerted patient co-creation and collaboration.
  • Increase spending and develop targeted policies to tackle CVD and NCD risk factors, including the social and commercial determinants of health, using revenues from fiscal policies (i.e., taxation of unhealthy commodities, such as alcohol and tobacco products).
  • Include indicators on circulatory disease prevalence, comorbidities, and risk factors into measures of pandemic readiness, resilience, and response.
  • Ensure people living with circulatory conditions and in low-resource settings have good and equitable access to essential health services, including medicines, supplies and associated devices, through Primary Health Care.
  • Provide easy priority access to vaccination and other disease prevention methods for people with underlying circulatory risk factors.
  • Support and integrate the use of effective new models to deliver quality health services, especially telemedicine and initiatives to support self-care and self-empowerment.

The world simply cannot wait for the next pandemic to invest in NCDs. By further cementing the importance of addressing circulatory health in a future Framework Convention on Emergency Preparedness, we can take concrete steps towards a pandemic-free future.