The strength of our world’s public health systems can be best measured by the well-being of those who are the least protected—whether because of systematic drivers of inequity like poverty or racism, or structural issues that create lack of access to care, or some combination of these. COVID-19 has centered these inequities as never before. Vital Strategies works in cities and countries where the need is highest, where we can make the greatest impact and where we have strong partners. We are in constant consultation with affected communities.
This began with our early work, which continues today—fighting to bring tobacco control to countries where the tobacco industry targets youth and openly influences government, and searching for a less burdensome treatment for the hundreds of thousands of people with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, most of them in low- and middle-income countries. And a focus on the communities that are the least protected, and where the greatest harm occurs, is at the heart of our newest work: when COVID-19 began, we immediately sought large investments work in low- and middle-income countries to strengthen systems and train health care workers. We have released guidance on how to support people who use drugs during the pandemic, we are working with governments to make sure that all deaths attributable to COVID-19 are counted, and we are helping communities in the United States build contact tracing programs to help contain the virus.
At Vital Strategies, we do not turn away from complexity, from multilayered challenges. We specialize in creating solutions to problems at a national and global scale. We bring the best evidence to local partners and governments, and we constantly seek new evidence and new knowledge that will help us better serve the people in most need.
—José Luis Castro President and CEO, Vital Strategies