World Heart Federation

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The World Heart Federation (WHF) is a nongovernmental organization based in Geneva, Switzerland. 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 covering the regions of Asia-Pacific, Europe, East Mediterranean, the Americas and Africa.

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.

About Us[edit]


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]

Strategic Goal[edit]

The World Heart Federation urges greater action from policy makers, healthcare professionals, patient organizations and individuals to work together to reduce the burden of heart disease and stroke, and ensure people all over the world can have longer and better lives. For sustained change to happen, we believe it is crucial to focus on specific objectives and actions.


We believe that everyone, regardless of geography or socio-economic status, deserves equal access to a health-enabling environment, health information, treatment and care so that all people across the globe can lead a heart-healthy life.


By 2025, to drive the WHO target for non-communicable disease mortality reduction by reducing premature deaths from cardiovascular disease (CVD) by at least 25%.


We believe that leadership, unity, learning and equality are fundamental to positive change.

Board 2015-2017[edit]

  • President: Salim Yusuf, MBBS, DPhil, FRCPC, FRSC, Canada
  • Vice-President: Kingsley K. Akinroye, MD, Nigeria
  • President Elect: David A. Wood, MSc, FRCP, FRCPE, FFPHM, FESC, UK
  • Vice-President Elect : Tony Duncan, New Zealand
  • Past President: K. Srinath Reddy, MD, DM, MSc, India
  • Past Vice-President: Deborah Chen, Jamaica
  • Secretary and Treasure: Ronald Wayne Haddock, USA
  • Chair, Scientific Policy and Advocacy Committee:Jagat Narula, MD, DM, PhD, MACC, FRCP, USA
  • Chief Executive Officer: Johanna Ralston, Switzerland
  • At-large member: Dayi Hu, MD, FACC, FESC, China

Continental Representatives[edit]

  • Africa: Habib Gamra, MD, Tunisia
  • Africa: Bongani Mayosi, MD, PhD, South Africa
  • Asia-Pacific: Kui-Hian Sim, MD, Malaysia
  • Asia-Pacific: Mary Barry, Australia
  • Europe: Panos Vardas MD, PhD, FESC, FACC
  • Europe: Floris Italianer, MD, Netherlands
  • Inter-America: Marcia M. Barbosa, MD, PhD, Brazil
  • Inter-America: Yvonne García Richaud, Mexico
  • Global CVD Tasks Force: William A. Zoghbi, MD, FASE, FAHA, MACC, USA


Globally, cardiovascular disease (CVD) accounts for 31 per cent of all deaths causing 17.3 million people to die every year, with 80 per cent of deaths taking place in low- and middle-income countries.

Despite myths to the contrary, CVD burdens individuals in their most productive years by creating deaths, disabilities, and illnesses at early ages that are largely preventable. As we look toward a healthy future, free of CVD, we recognize that a healthy home means a healthy country, and that health-conscious policies can encourage heart-healthy living.


Advocacy Goals[edit]

The unique position of the World Heart Federation has been successful in providing the heart advocacy movement with an overarching drive that brings together science, advocacy and evidence-based policy. The World Heart Federation uses this position to advocate for policy change in support of our strategic goals that is to:

  • Raise the priority of cardiovascular health on the global health agenda
  • Improve care of heart disease and stroke
  • Promote heart-healthy diets and physical activity for all
  • Improve recognition and control of high blood pressure globally
  • Advance a tobacco-free world
  • Eliminate rheumatic fever and minimize the burden of rheumatic heart disease

Endorsed by World Health Organization Member States at the 65th World Health Assembly, a global goal has been established to reduce premature deaths due to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) by 25 per cent by 2025. Because cardiovascular disease (CVD) accounts for nearly half of the global NCD burden, CVD and its risk factors must be adequately addressed in order to achieve this global goal.

Advocacy Toolkit[edit]

The World Heart Federation Advocacy Toolkit[2] is a resource to aid our member organizations that have dedicated themselves to the prevention, control, and treatment of CVD in achieving their advocacy objectives.

25 by 25[edit]

25x25, achieving a 25% relative reduction in overall mortality from cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes or chronic respiratory disease by 2025. In September 2011, the United Nations held a High-Level Meeting in New York on the subject of NCDs, including cardiovascular disease (CVD), cancers, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases. This was only the second time in its history that the UN held a summit on a health issue and its aims were to:

  • Increase the political prioritisation of NCDs, which cause two thirds of deaths globally
  • Recognise the impact of NCDs as not just a health issue, but also as a major economic burden and an obstacle to global development and sustainability

The outcome of the meeting was a Political Declaration signed by all the UN Member States that now represents the NCD roadmap. The first action step of the Declaration came in May 2012 when the 65th World Health Assembly (WHA) adopted a global target of 25% relative reduction in overall mortality from cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes or chronic respiratory diseases by 2025.

This led to the World Heart Federation recognising that achieving the 2025 targets would require a primary focus on cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, and that all of the targets have a direct impact on CVD. The organization committed itself to supporting action to reduce premature mortality from CVD by 25% by 2025.

Global Health Agenda [1][edit]

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 NCDs in the global development agenda.

  • In September 2011, the UN held a landmark High-level Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs).The meeting was attended by 28 heads of state, who pledged a commitment to reduce the global disease burden. Through the NCD Alliance, which unites our sister federations in cancer (Union for International Cancer Control), diabetes (International Diabetes Federation) and chronic respiratory disease, we continue to build on this momentum and lobby for the rising burden of NCDs to be addressed in the global health agenda and the sustainable development goals. Beginning in the summer of 2011, a technical working group developed a list of 10 proposed global targets and indicators. Nine of the 10 proposed targets were directly related to CVD, but missing from the list was a target on reducing physical inactivity. These targets are also explained in a WHO Discussion Paper found on the WHO website.
  • In May 2012, all 194 WHO Member States endorsed a historic target to reduce premature deaths from non-communicable disease (NCDs) by 25 per cent by 2025 during the 65th World Health Assembly (WHA). This is a landmark decision by the world’s highest global health deliberative body and marks a major milestone in the battle against NCDs. More information on the targets from the World Health Assembly can be read here.[3]
  1. A green economy in the context of sustainable development poverty eradication
  2. The institutional framework for sustainable development

The outcome document, entitled, Future We Want, can be read here.[4] The Rio + 20 conference resulted in: adoption of green economy policies, establishment of a high-level political forum and agreement to strengthen the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) and adoption of the 10-year framework of programmes on sustainable consumption and production patterns. Additionally, the groundwork for the development of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was created. As a result of the conference, over 700 voluntary commitments and new partnerships were formed to advance sustainable development.[5][6]

NCD Alliance[edit]

In 2009, the World Heart Federation and its sister federations the International Diabetes Federation and the Union for International Cancer Control formed the Non‐Communicable Disease (NCD) Alliance. In early 2010 the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease joined the alliance. Together the NCD Alliance represents 880 member associations in more than 170 countries. The NCD Alliance mobilized civil society to campaign successfully for a United Nations (UN) Summit on NCDs, which was subsequently held in September 2011. Additionally, on 13 May 2010, the UN voted unanimously for the passage of resolution 64/265, ‘Prevention and control of non‐communicable diseases.’

Healthy diet and physical activity[edit]

As an advocate of putting cardiovascular disease and its risk factors on the global health agenda, the World Heart Federation strongly supports initiatives addressing obesity, healthy diet and physical activity. WHF recognizes the importance that both nutrition and physical activity play in preventing and reducing the risk cardiovascular disease. As a results, the World Heart Federation has developed partnerships and alliances with various organizations in order to attain the common goal of promoting healthy diets and habits and reducing obesity. Some of our projects include:

Eat for Goals![edit]

Eat for Goals! is a cookery app which gives young people the opportunity to cook the same heart-healthy recipes as some of the world’s top footballers. Based on the successful Eat for Goals! book, the app encourages young people to eat healthily and lead an active lifestyle, in order to reduce their risk of heart disease and stroke.

The app now features three additional renowned players – Fernando Torres, Kelly Smith and Sergio Ramos – and their healthy and easy to do recipes. The app also presents a new section of snacks to offer healthy options between meals. Your child is hungry but it is not lunch/dinner time yet? Find inspiration in our recipes! Our “Banana Bread”, “Yoghurt Glory” and “Orange, date & pistachio salad” can easily be prepared with your child and complement a healthy and balanced diet.

Eat for Goals! was originally created under the patronage of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), World Heart Federation and the European Commission. It proved so successful we developed the Eat for Goals! app with UEFA.
The app shows young people how to cook the same healthy recipes as some of their favourite football stars, with the aim of encouraging them to eat healthily and lead an active lifestyle. Once the app is downloaded, young people aged 7+ are encouraged to ‘score a goal’ to see recipes from 11 of their favourite football legends: Frank Lampard, Cristiano Ronaldo, Carles Puyol, Steven Gerrard, Yaya Touré, Paul Pogba, Lotta Schelin, Rachel Yankey, Samuel Eto’o and now Fernando Torres, Kelly Smith and Sergio Ramos.

Each player shares what he or she loves to eat and gives the recipe for his or her favourite dish. As well as seeing what football stars like to eat, the app also provides interesting food facts and step-by-step instructions, making it easy for even the less-experienced to make delicious, healthy meals in no time at all!

Tobacco Control[edit]

Tobacco is responsible for close to six million deaths per year globally. As an advocate for reducing risk factors associated with cardiovascular deaths, the World Heart Federation supports strong limitations to active and passive smoking. In 2004, the World Heart Federation implemented, alongside other organizations, its own code of practice (based on WHO-endorsed code of practice) that aims at promoting tobacco limitations within the organization itself.


World Congress of Cardiology[edit]

The World Congress of Cardiology[7] held every other year, is a 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 Mexico City, Mexico from 4–7 June 2016.

The regular registration fee deadline is 13 May 2016.

"We look forward to welcoming you to Mexico City for a congress which we believe will feature one of the most innovative and action oriented programme, designed to meet the needs of cardiologists, other health workers and patients for the 21st century." Dr. Salim Yusuf, President of the World Heart Federation

World Heart Day[edit]

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.[8] 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. Collaborators of the World Heart Federation include several major international non-profits such as the Indian Heart Association.[9] 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. It is a chance for people across the globe to take part in the world’s biggest intervention against cardiovascular disease (CVD). This year’s theme for WHD is Creating healthy, heart choices for everyone everywhere.

Past themes have included:
2015: Creating heart-healthy environments
2013: Take the road to a healthy heart
2011-2012: One World, One Heart, One Home
2009-2010: I Work with Heart
2008: Know your Risk
2007: Team Up for Healthy Hearts!
2006: How Young is Your Heart?
2005: Healthy Weight, Healthy Shape
2004: Children, Adolescents and Heart Disease
2003: Women, Heart Disease and Stroke
2002: What Shape are you in?
2001: A Heart for Life
2000: I Love my Heart: Let it beat!


External links[edit]