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Catalyzing Change Through Partnership:

2023 Year in Review

In Cambodia, General Department of Identification staff visits the family whose baby was the first to be registered under the health-CR link pilot project at Sangkat Kakap 1 in Phnom Penh.
An interviewer conducts a questionnaire about lead exposure during a home visit in Bihar, India as part of our Environmental Health division’s Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention program.
Our Data Impact program, part of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Data for Health Initiative, joined the University of Papua New Guinea to help train emerging local health leaders on data-centered leadership. Here, Serah Dot (left), Hospital Manager from Western Highlands province and Maria Posanek, Health Manager, Catholic Health Services, East New Britain province work on a data Interpretation exercise.
Marleny Mesa Trompeta (center right) and her husband Andres Efrain Noscue (right), taking part in a verbal autopsy with members of the Colombia Rural Vital team a few weeks after their three-month-old son Eliad Noscue Mesa died. The photo was part of the New York Times Magazine cover story “The Incredible Challenge of Counting Every Global Birth and Death” by Jeneen Interlandi, which featured work by the Vital Strategies Civil Registration and Vital Statistics program. Photo Credit: Juan Arredondo for The New York Times Magazine.
An activation event in Johannesburg, South Africa for the “Better Labels, Better Choices” campaign calls for clearer warning labels on unhealthy, ultra-processed foods and beverages while the proposed front-of-package label regulations are open for public comment.
Roz, a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Harm Reduction Worker demonstrates how to administer Naloxone to someone in order to reverse a fatal overdose.
Mayor Carolina Cosse of Montevideo, Uruguay launches the healthy food for public employees program as part of the Partnership for Healthy Cities.
In Bangladesh, Chattogram City Corporation and the Chattogram Metropolitan Police released their first-ever road crash report, which showed that 56% of traffic deaths in the city are pedestrians.
Policymakers and advocates in RESET Alcohol countries gathered in October in Cape Town, South Africa to share best practices and lessons learned, as well as opportunities to push alcohol policy forward in their countries.
Our VitalTalks Live event panel discussion following the screening of the premiere of the film “Tobacco Slave”. The film exposes tobacco giant Imperial Brands and other companies through first-hand accounts from farmers in Malawi.
On World No Tobacco Day, Partnership for Healthy Cities technical lead Dr. Thriveni Beerenahally joined a local march to highlight the city’s smoke-free work in Bengaluru, India.
A video on tobacco and e-cigarette harms being shown in Hanoi, Vietnam
A birth registration being conducted with a community health volunteer and village member for the Global Grants Program-funded project focusing on improving birth and death registrations in the North Bank Region of The Gambia.

Building Local Solutions for Clean Air and Health

Air pollution is the greatest environmental threat to human health worldwide. Vital Strategies engages local governments and the health sector to advance actions to counter climate change and clear the air.


vehicles tested for emissions standards in Jakarta, Indonesia in one day


lives that could be saved each year if Jakarta fully implemented clean air actions

In Jakarta, a record-breaking collaboration between Vital Strategies and government spotlighted the threat of car emissions—the single greatest source of air pollution in Jakarta—and engaged residents in pollution control. A joint study conducted by Vital Strategies and Jakarta’s municipal environmental authority in 2023 revealed the impact of air pollution on health, showing that more than 10,000 deaths each year can be attributed to breathing unhealthy air.

Clean Air Action: Success Stories From Six Cities Around the World

More than 90% of the people in the world breathe unhealthy air, stunting children’s growth, contributing to illnesses such as asthma and lung and heart disease, and killing 5 million people every year. Through partnership and cross-sectoral collaboration, Vital Strategies’ work around the world has shown how the health sector can accelerate action on air pollution and climate.


With support from the Clean Air Fund, Vital Strategies released case studies at the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) that showcase high-impact, evidence-based success stories from six cities: Accra (Ghana); Barranquilla (Colombia); Beijing (China); New York City (U.S.); Jakarta (Indonesia); and Kampala (Uganda). Read more here.

In Jakarta, Vital Strategies partners with government to guide clean air action and collaborates with the city health agency to highlight the harms of air pollution. Working with the Environment Agency of DKI Jakarta, in 2023 Vital Strategies published a study showing that air pollution caused an estimated 10,000 deaths, 5,000+ hospitalizations for cardiorespiratory diseases, and more than 7,000 adverse health outcomes in children each year. The total economic burden was estimated to be US$2.9 billion—2.2% of DKI Jakarta’s gross regional domestic product.

In a city with more than 25 million motorized vehicles, transport is a key contributor to air pollution in Jakarta. Vital Strategies collaborated with the local government and academia on a study that found that implementing routine vehicle emissions compliance testing has one of the best returns on investment. As a result, a mass emission testing event conducted on World Environment Day in June 2023 tested a record 2,600 vehicles in one day—and heads of surrounding municipalities were invited to explore joint air pollution control efforts.

The DKI Jakarta government expects that the Grand Emission Test event will stimulate public awareness to have their vehicles tested for emissions regularly. By doing so, it is hoped that the improvement of air quality in Jakarta can be achieved soon.”
Asep Kuswanto
The Head of the Jakarta Provincial Environmental Agency, during the Grand Emissions Test, June 5, 2023
The DKI Jakarta government sees air pollution as a crucial issue to pay attention to. We have added air pollution control as one of our priorities as stated in our Regional Strategic Activities."
Afan Adriansyah Idris
The Jakarta Regional Secretary's Assistant for Development and Environment

Learn More About Vital’s Climate and Health Work in 2023

India Responds to Rising Heat-Related Illness

India has been experiencing major impacts due to extreme heat. Vital Strategies India supports technical work on surveillance, health facility preparedness, and early warning and alert as part of the National Programme on Climate Change and Human Health. Under the Cleaner Air and Better Health project, Vital’s Environment Health technical teams based in Bihar and Madhya Pradesh work closely with the state Climate Change and Human Health teams to augment the government’s capacity to identify and manage heat-related illnesses.

The Data Healing the Lungs of a City

Air pollution is a daily challenge in Jakarta, but accessible air pollution data can make a difference. Vital partnered with BBC StoryWorks to produce “The Data Healing the Lungs of a City,” part of a series, The Climate and Us, exploring how the climate crisis affects human health and how the health sector can offer solutions. The film shares the stories of three members of a Jakarta community living near a bustling urban port, several factories and congested streets: Novi, a mother of two, and Cepi express concern over the dust and pollution they and their community breathe. Zalfaa, a local medical student who has been learning about health concerns related to breathing polluted air, volunteers to educate people on this issue.

Lasting Results

Vital Strategies works at the intersection of climate and health to improve air quality—building capacity in cities worldwide to monitor local air quality, and equipping frontline health care workers to respond to health harms caused by air pollution. By illuminating the interconnectedness of human health and planet health, we hope to see a surge in society committing to our shared goal: to improve health for everyone, everywhere through clean air and climate action.