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President and CEO

José Luis Castro

Message from José Luis Castro

Every Day Should Be World Health Day

Good health does not just happen: it is promoted by societies that value clean air, healthy foods, safe streets, restrictions on harmful products like tobacco, qualityGood health does not just happen. It is produced when societies value clean air, healthy foods, safe streets, restrictions on harmful products like tobacco, quality health care, and most of all, equity. On World Health Day, we recognize that public health—health that is by everyone, for everyone—cannot be a stand-alone issue. Rather, it must be woven across sectors, policies, and practices.

At Vital Strategies, we believe that every day should be World Health Day. The global pandemic has revealed all too clearly the perils of political and economic policies that neglect public health systems. The millions of lost lives and plummeting economies resulting from COVID-19 were not and are not inevitable, but the consequences of weak health systems and unconscionable gaps in access to treatment and prevention.

It is time for public health to become a priority across societies and sectors now that the pandemic has awakened the world to the need for robust health systems. Systems that will be able to withstand the next big threat. In Ukraine, for example, even as we hope for peace, we urge the international community to demand that safety and health remain a top priority in the humanitarian response as the conflict has the potential to be catastrophic to public health efforts such as TB.

Whether the issue is air quality, transport, food, tobacco, drug use, or infectious disease, we have to think more holistically about the interconnections that create health. That is why at Vital Strategies we are energized by the our Reimagine Public Health campaign and brand tag line.

We are calling for a bolder, better, more equitable approach to health across our five focus areas: Noncommunicable Diseases, Injury Prevention, Urban Health, Public Health Systems, and Environmental Health and Climate Change. We need to reimagine public health, and place it at the center of our political, social and economic systems. From safe drinking water to healthy food, clean air and health equity, public health must be seen as an essential common good that touches all facets of our lives.

By working across sectors, we can drive policy shifts in transportation, energy, finance, development and education to make wider and more lasting change that protects everyone, everywhere. Because every person deserves access to good health. 

José Luis Castro
President and CEO