Vital Strategies’ Statement on Launch of New #WeCount Campaign

January 25, 2017

Today Vital Strategies launched #WeCount, a campaign to chronicle individuals who are moving from invisible to visible by obtaining official birth and death records. The #WeCount campaign is part of a global initiative to make sure every human life is counted and public health policymakers use that information to inform decision-making.

José Luis Castro, President and CEO of Vital Strategies, said:

“A staggering two billion people – roughly 40 percent of the world’s population – are officially invisible. They have been born and will likely die without any official record of their existence. The lack of birth and death records creates a data gap with devastating real-world consequences. Many governments are relying on ‘best guess’ methods to track population growth and causes of mortality. Improving Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) systems will ensure that scarce resources and public health policies are well targeted and their impact tracked. Countries that can accurately count births and deaths – and determine the causes of those deaths – can use statistics to save and improve lives.”

Dr. Adam Karpati, Senior Vice President for Public Health Programs at Vital Strategies, added:

“There is an important public health impact created by enhancing CRVS systems in participating countries, but the human rights and social justice benefits to this issue are equally important. Vital records unlock important social benefits for individuals, from property inheritance to voting to being able to attend school. #WeCount tells these stories, from the perspectives of real people from the countries that are participating in the Bloomberg Philanthropies Data for Health initiative, which is strengthening CRVS capabilities in 20 low- and middle-income countries.

Through Data for Health, public health experts are assisting governments with the latest methods and technology to improve data collection, analysis and use improve population health. The #WeCount campaign showcases the stories of real people who are benefiting from this effort in their own words. It is our way of highlighting the personal dimension of the Data for Health initiative, the overall impact of which will touch the lives of nearly one billion people in the participating countries.”

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 www.vitalstrategies.org or Twitter @VitalStrat.

For further comment on the information included in this statement, please contact Jon Steed, Vital Strategies, at +1.917.710.2846 or jsteed@vitalstrategies.org.