World Heart Federation

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The World Heart Federation is a nongovernmental organization based in Geneva, Switzerland dedicated to the prevention and control of heart disease and heart foundations from over 100 countries covering the regions of Asia-Pacific, Europe, East Mediterranean, the Americas and Africa.


The World Heart Federation traces its origins to the International Society of Cardiology, which was formed in 1946, and the International Cardiology Federation, founded in 1970. These two organizations merged in 1978 to form the International Society and Federation of Cardiology (ISFC). The ISFC changed its name to the World Heart Federation in 1998.[1]


The World Heart Federation is committed to uniting its members and leads the global fight against heart disease and stroke, with a focus on low-and middle-income countries. The World Heart Federation is the world's only global body dedicated to leading the fight against heart disease and stroke via a united community of almost 200 member organizations that bring together the strength of medical societies and heart foundations, from more than 100 countries.

Each year 17.3 million people die of cardiovascular disease, 80% in the developing world. The World Heart Federation exists to prevent and control these diseases through awareness campaigns and action, promoting the exchange of information, ideas and science among those involved in cardiovascular care, advocating for disease prevention and control by promoting healthy diets, physical activity and tobacco free living at an individual, community and policy maker level.

The World Congress of Cardiology[2] is a biannual scientific conference of cardiologists from around the world, where the latest research is presented. The Congresses were held every four years from 1950 to 2006, and every two years since then. The aims of the World Congress of Cardiology are to share scientific research results and public outreach techniques with low- and middle-income countries, reach the maximum number of healthcare providers by integrating national and regional congresses, focus on prevention, diagnosis and treatment and encourage interaction between physicians, patients, policy-makers and the public. The next World Congress of Cardiology Scientific Session will take place in 2014 in Melbourne, Australia.

World Heart Day, which used to take place every year on the last Sunday in September, is organized by the World Heart Federation, and has been celebrated annually since 2000.[3] As of 2011, World Heart Day is celebrated every 29 September and no longer on the last Sunday of September. Together with its members, the World Heart Federation spreads the news that at least 80% of premature deaths from heart disease and stroke could be avoided if the main risk factors, tobacco, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity, are controlled. National activities such as public talks and screenings, walks and runs, concerts or sporting events are organized worldwide by members and partners of the World Heart Federation.

Global Health Agenda:[4] By mobilizing its member network and participating in key advocacy events, including the World Health Assembly and UN meetings, such as the UN Summit on NCDs in September 2011, the World Heart Federation reaches the decision-makers directly. United efforts have resulted in the Commonwealth Heads of Government issuing a landmark statement on NCDs thus committing fifty-four countries, representing a third of the world’s population, to work towards including them in the global development agenda. In partnership with sister federations in cancer, diabetes and respiratory diseases, the World Heart Federation continues to build on this momentum and lobby for the rising burden of NCDs to be addressed in the global health agenda and the Millennium Development Goals.


  1. ^ Herman A. Snellen, "Birth and Growth of the European Society of Cardiology". European Heart Journal, vol. 1, no. 1, pp 5-7.
  2. ^ World Congress of Cardiology website
  3. ^ World Heart Day website
  4. ^ Global Health Agenda on World Heart Federation website

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