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Vital Stories

Spotlight: Advocacy at the Global Level

Late September is an important time for health advocacy at the global level. From the Climate Action Summit to the High Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage and the United Nations General Assembly, nations and civil society convene for discussions around standards and guidelines in areas with the potential to impact the health of billions of people. Vital Strategies participates in these events to ensure that attendees advance the evidence-driven solutions that we support governments in implementing, measures like taxes on tobacco and sugary drinks, air quality monitoring and policy, or the most effective ways to prevent cardiovascular disease. We’ve curated related news, reports and videos from across our programs:

What To Watch 

How Healthcare Relates to Poverty and Development

In conjunction with the United Nation’s high-level meeting on universal health coverage, watch President and CEO José Luis Castro discuss the importance of extending quality healthcare to the billions who now lack access.

Vital Talk: Putting Money to Work to Prevent NCDs

Watch the latest in our series of Vital Talks which took place on Sept. 26. Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization, spoke with José Luis Castro and Nandita Murukutla from Vital Strategies and Her Royal Highness Princess Dina Mired of Jordan, President of the Union for International Cancer Control, among other distinguished experts.

An Uncertain Future

Climate change is the global issue of our day, says Dan Kass, head of our Environmental Health division. Learn more in this new video.

Expert Focus

Dan Kass was also featured in this recent Q&A, published by EOS and Down To Earth, on the impact of climate change on human health and the necessity of initiating or expanding specific policies.

Global Policy Watch 

The True Cost of Fossil Fuels

“Globally, governments provide nearly USD $300 billion in pre-tax subsidies for fossil fuels. Yet these subsidies impose more than USD $2.7 trillion in health costs.” Read more in our new brief, Fueling and Unhealthy Future: How Propping Up Unhealthy Industries Will Cost Trillions and Sicken Millions, part of an ongoing report on what economists call “perverse incentives”—government subsidies for products that harm health.

Taking Tobacco to Task

Learn about the tactics Big Tobacco uses to maintain its grip on consumers—and policy makers. Produced by STOP and its research parters, Crooked Nine: Nine Ways the Tobacco Industry Undermines Health Policy is essential reading.

Urban Health 

Central to Vital Strategies’ work is our commitment to urban health and belief that cities can be the drivers of innovative public health practice. Read about our team’s contribution to Urban Health, a groundbreaking and comprehensive text, published in April 2019 by Oxford University Press.

The Latest from our City Health Blog

Last month, leaders and experts from the Partnership for Healthy Cities 10 African cities participated in a three-three day work shop in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Read more about their work combatting NCDs and road injuries and the remarkable success stories they shared.

From The Field 

Building on lessons learned from our successful partnerships in Mexico and elsewhere, this Vital Stories blog from early September discusses how a tax on sugary drinks in Jamaica would help fight an increase in obesity. A survey conducted in collaboration with Hope Caribbean found that 82% of Jamaicans support such a tax if the proceeds were earmarked for funding obesity prevention programs, especially for children.


To read more about global advocacy and public health, explore these key resources:

The Tobacco Atlas

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Vital Strategies 2019 Global Policy Priorities

The NCD Alliance