2022 Year in Review: Behind the Numbers
Behind each number is a story of
success in public health.
drop in the number of drivers observed speeding in Accra, Ghana from 2019 to 2022.
top tax to be levied on sugar-sweetened beverages by 2025 in Colombia.
increase in birth and death registration in Bangladesh from 2015 to 2022.
These aren’t just cold data points: They represent stronger health systems, more productive and prosperous communities, and millions of people living healthier, longer lives.
Since 2004, Vital Strategies has partnered with governments, communities and organizations to design and implement evidence-based, locally driven policies and practices to advance public health using four key approaches: policymaking for health, strategic communication and advocacy, program implementation, and data-driven decision-making.
The cities and countries we work with own these successes and they are the ones who will sustain them. Here, we unpack the numbers and tell the stories behind them.
Dustin Hunt, artist and founder of Muralmatics, in front of one of three murals Vital Strategies commissioned to symbolize the impact of the drug overdose crisis in partnership with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and City Walls Detroit. The murals promote the message that substance abuse disorder is a chronic health condition not a moral failing.
2022 Program Spotlights
In 2015, Vital Strategies began work in Accra, Ghana—as part of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety. A study showed that the percentage of drivers exceeding the speed limit dropped from 81% when the work began to 51% in 2022. The number is still too high, but evidence that progress is possible.
40% of the world's people go uncounted. In 2016, Bangladesh began innovative approaches to increase birth and death registration in one sub-district. By 2022, the country increased its birth and death registration fivefold nationally with Vital's support.
In December 2022, Colombia's president signed a hefty tax on sugar-sweetened beverages into law—topping out in 2025 at 20% for the drinks highest in sugar. Vital was a part of the seven-year communication and advocacy effort that built support for passage of the law.
Tobacco companies market their deadly products on social media—often using hidden strategies to circumvent marketing restrictions. Vital’s Tobacco Enforcement and Reporting Movement (TERM) uses AI-driven, expert-verified monitoring to collect examples of tobacco marketing in India, Indonesia and Mexico, to reveal rich insights into predatory marketing practices. It’s the kind of evidence governments need to strengthen tobacco control polices.
Results of Clinical Trial Change the Landscape for Treatment of Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis
Pharmacists in Ethiopia prepare medicines for STREAM participants.
The STREAM clinical trial is the world’s largest multidrug-resistant tuberculosis trial ever conducted, with over 1,000 participants recruited from eight countries on three continents. In November 2022, STREAM released results in The Lancet showing that two new shortened treatment regimens are both safe and effective in treating MDR-TB, and also result in lower direct costs to patients. In addition to transforming treatment standards, STREAM offers important implementation lessons for future trials. STREAM was sponsored by Vital Strategies and implemented with global partners, including the Medical Research Council Clinical Trials Unit at University College London, the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, and Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine.
Reimagining Public Health
Vital Strategies carries out its mission—to work in partnership to reimagine evidence-based, locally driven policies and practices to advance public health—with programs focused on five key domains: Urban Health, Environmental Health and Climate Change, Noncommunicable Diseases, Injury Prevention and Public Health Systems. Read more here about our 2022 work in each of these focus areas.
Our world has urbanized so rapidly that by 2050, 68% of the people in the world are expected to live in cities. Our city-focused work encompasses Road Safety in up to 30 cities and Air Pollution and Health in urban areas, primarily in Indonesia and India. In addition, Vital implements the Partnership for Healthy Cities, a network of 70 cities focused on preventing noncommunicable diseases and injuries.
How 8 Cities Worked Quickly To Slow COVID Infections, Distribute Vaccines and Address Health Disparities
Jakarta Clean Air Partnership’s Grand Design for Air Pollution Control
Urban pandemic response: Survey results describing the experiences from twenty-five cities during the COVID-19 pandemic
Cities Commit to Slowing Down and Safer Streets
Our health as humans is deeply connected to the health of the environments where we live. The vast majority of people in the world—90%—breathe polluted air, and WHO air quality guidelines show that no safe level of air pollution exists. Our Air Pollution and Health team provides technical expertise and consultative services to inform policies and influence public discourse around air pollution and its health impacts. Children are at particular risk from environmental hazards: Vital’s Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention program works with governments in India, Indonesia, Peru and the Philippines to improve surveillance, treatment and policies to prevent lead poisoning.
Prioritizing Children: Environmental Health Indicators for China
Vital Strategies Joins Pure Earth to Protect 9 Million Children From Toxic Lead
Integrated Use of Low-Cost Sensors to Strengthen Air Quality Management in Indian Cities
Reducing Childhood Lead Poisoning in Indonesia
NCDs such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease are responsible for 71% of all deaths globally. Vital’s Food Policy and Tobacco Control programs use policy advocacy and strategic communication to address two of the biggest drivers of NCDs. The Partnership for Healthy Cities supports a variety of NCD prevention programs across its 70-city network. In 2022, Vital launched RESET Alcohol, part of our Alcohol Policy program. RESET brings together national governments, civil society, research organizations, and global leaders in public health and alcohol policy to develop and implement evidence-based alcohol policies from the World Health Organization’s SAFER technical package.
“Warning: ultra-processed—A call for warnings on foods that aren’t really foods,” authored by Trish Cotter, Alexey Kotov, Shuo Wang and Nandita Murukutla, published in BMJ Global Health
New Initiative Launches To Address Neglected Global Health Crisis of Alcohol Harms
"The Kennedy Center should stop promoting Big Tobacco,” from Rebecca Perl, VP of Partnerships and Initiatives, featured in The Washington Post.
Deadly Sway: Harmful Industries and the Global Goals
Injuries are the leading causes of death among children and young adults—and most injuries are preventable. Vital’s Road Safety program, part of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety, uses a comprehensive, evidence-based approach to reduce road crashes, injuries and deaths in up to 15 countries and 30 cities. Our Overdose Prevention program uses a public health approach to address rising drug overdose deaths, promoting harm reduction and emphasizing a just, nonpunitive approach to treatment. And, as part of our crosscutting focus on gender equity, Vital’s Data for Health team studies ways to identify gender-based violence from data on deaths and injuries—providing essential information to governments and the public on a widespread but underreported issue.
Vital's award-winning #SupportHarmReduction campaign counters the stigma faced by people who use drugs by telling their stories in print, broadcast and digital media.
16 Cities Call for Justice During World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims
Writing in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Kate Boulton, Legal Technical Advisor, explains how access to medication for opioid use disorder is critical.
Analysis of Deaths Due to Gender-Based Violence: An Autopsy-Based Cross-sectional Study from Mumbai
To strengthen and embolden public health, institutions such as ministries of health and local health departments need the capacity to collect, analyze and use data. Vital’s Data for Health programs—encompassing Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS), Data Impact, Cancer Registries and the Global Grants Program—support our country partners as they build robust data systems, including assisting with tools to analyze available health data, inform policy solutions and maximize resources for greatest impact.
Tracking Cancer Data To Get to the Root of the Global Burden
New National Data Paints Picture of Pandemic Life in Brazil, With Chronic Diseases Posing New Wave of Long-Term Health Concerns Among Brazilians
Civil registrations and vital statistics: Here's why they're fundamental to society
Accelerating Action To Address TB: Lessons Learned From the STREAM Trial
Meet Our Team
Vital Strategies is a global organization of scientists, researchers, advocates, communicators and innovators, supported by experts in operations and finance, working in partnership to reimagine evidence-based, locally driven policies and practices to advance public health. We profile our colleagues in an ongoing series we call Vital People. Read about the Vital Strategies team members we profiled in 2022.
“I love to learn and to learn from my mistakes and to learn from others. That is what I most like about working at Vital Strategies. I don’t want to be in a place where I know everything.”
“I have been so happy to be a part of something really unique and am grateful to be able to keep building on that here.”
Vice President of Climate and Environmental Health
“I was into numbers from when I was very little. ... In third grade, I decided I wanted to go into accounting. I am surprised that I was able to keep that goal, even in my move from one country to another.”
“If we aren’t getting our messages out into the hands of people, on their phones and screens, how much influence can we have in improving their lives?”
Program Manager, Global Tobacco Control and STOP
“As I was looking for a career, I always wanted a place where at the end of the day I could say that I did something meaningful.”
Security and Operations Manager
“I am passionate about these issues and it takes a lot out of me. It is a privilege that I work in a meaningful job, but it can be tough because I care a lot about what I do.”
Associate Director of Communication, Food Policy Program
“I want to continue doing things that make a difference and where I feel I can add value. Being open to opportunities that arise has so far led me on an interesting path and one that I don’t regret.”
Director of Global Foundations and Institutional Relations, Office of the President
Vital's Global Presence
Vital Strategies’ seven global offices—in Addis Ababa, Jinan, New Delhi, New York City, Paris, São Paulo and Singapore—engage with governments, change-makers and advocates with deep local knowledge to advance scalable, sustainable policies that ultimately prevent illness and injury and save lives. Our offices serve as hubs for our dedicated team of experts—330 employees, plus consultants—implementing programs in more than 80 countries. We are primed to take on new opportunities from start to finish and bring global best practice to new locations.
We’re grateful to the funders who have made our lifesaving work possible.
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