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Data for Health initiative strengthens data to drive public health actions in Colombia

(Bogota, Colombia and New York, USA) – Vital Strategies has joined the Ministry of Health and Social Protection and the National Administrative Department of Statistics in launching the Bloomberg Philanthropies Data for Health initiative in Colombia. Vital Strategies is a partner in the initiative, which is sponsored by Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Experts from Vital Strategies are providing technical and implementation support to government partners and helping to build sustainable capacity so more complete and higher quality data on births and deaths across the nation is collected, analyzed and used effectively to improve the health of Colombians.

Addressing the launch event in Bogota this evening, Dr. Adam Karpati, Senior Vice President, Public Health Programs, Vital Strategies said: “Governments can most effectively improve the health and wellbeing of their people by using high-quality data to make program and policy decisions and set priorities. Science- and data-based policies – like last year’s decision to increase tobacco taxes – reduce disease, save lives and deliver positive social and economic benefits. We are delighted to work with the government of Colombia, in collaboration with other international partners, on this important initiative.”

Vital Strategies’ supports governments in the Bloomberg Philanthropies Data for Health initiative in two areas:

1. Civil Registration and Vital Statistics

In partnership with the University of Melbourne, accelerates progress to improve the quality and completeness of vital statistics in Colombia through training, tools and processes that address: the notification and registration of births and deaths occurring in rural, ethnic, and dispersed communities; expanding the availability of cause-of-death information via the use of verbal autopsy; and the effective review and utilization of vital statistics data at national and sub-national levels through management, data quality assessment, and implementation and use of information systems.

2. Data Impact

Helps strengthen national capacity and develop sustainable approaches in the use of data – analysis, interpretation and dissemination – to guide and support decision-making for health programs and policy development. This includes analyzing public health data to develop territorial health plans within the framework of a national equity planning process; promoting multi-sector use of public health data; supporting small area population estimation and projections; and, in partnership with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, strengthening technical capacity for data-driven policy development.

Vital Strategies is also working in Colombia to support government and civil society on other major public health initiatives:

1. Bloomberg Philanthropies Obesity Prevention Program

Vital Strategies is one of three global partners in a Bloomberg Philanthropies-funded initiative to drive national policy change, with the goal of improving the food environment in low- and middle-income countries, where the problem is acute. This includes working with civil society to support change in four key policy areas: implementing or raising taxes on sugary beverages and junk foods; limiting children’s exposure to unhealthy food and beverage marketing through comprehensive marketing bans; removing unhealthy foods and beverages from public sector environments; and enacting informative and effective front-of-package nutrition labeling.

2. Partnership for Healthy Cities

Vital Strategies is the implementing partner in the Partnership for Healthy Cities, which provides technical support to accelerate the adoption of proven policies to improve health and reduce injuries by local government administrations in 50 cities worldwide. These policies can cover issues such as tobacco control, obesity prevention, and road safety, among others. Three Colombian Cities (Bogota, Medellin and Cali) are members of the Partnership for Healthy Cities, which is an initiative sponsored by Bloomberg Philanthropies and the World Health Organization under the auspices of Michael Bloomberg’s appointment as WHO Global Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases.

3. Bloomberg Philanthropies initiative for Global Road Safety

Vital Strategies is a partner in this initiative to reduce traffic-related deaths and injuries in 10 cities worldwide, including Bogota. The initiative focuses on supporting city governments in implementing proven strategies, such as increased enforcement of traffic laws; media campaigns to reduce risky driving (speeding, drink driving, lack of motorcycle helmet use, and lack of seat belt use); engineering designs for safe roads; and better collection and use of behavioral, crash, injury, and death data.

Learn more about Vital Strategies programs and read stories of progress in our 2016 annual report.

Launch event

Speakers at the launch event included:

– Mauricio Perfetti, Director of the National Statistics Institute

– Luis Fernando Correa, Vice-Minister for Public Health and Health Services

– Luis Miguel Renjifo, Vice-Rector of Research, Pontifica Javeriana University

– Adam Karpati, Senior Vice President, Public Health Programs, Vital Strategies

– Alan Lopez, Laureate Professor, Director, Global Burden of Disease Group, University of Melbourne

About Vital Strategies

Vital Strategies is a global health organization that seeks to accelerate progress on the world’s most pressing health problems. Our team combines evidence-based strategies with innovation to help develop and implement sound public health policies, manage programs efficiently, strengthen data systems, conduct research, and design strategic communication campaigns for policy and behavior change. To find out more, please visit or Twitter @VitalStrat.

For further information or to arrange an interview with a Vital Strategies public health expert, please contact Tracey Johnston, Vital Strategies, at +44.7889.081.170 or