Novartis Initiative to Tackle Hypertension and its Root Causes

On World Hypertension Day 2017, the Novartis Foundation and its partners, including Intel Corporation, the NCD Alliance, city governments and local partners, announce the launch of Better Hearts Better Cities, an innovative initiative to address the high rates of high blood pressure (hypertension) in low-income urban communities.

Rapid urbanization in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) has deepened health inequities and increased pressure on already under-resourced urban infrastructures and services. This is critical in LMICs which face a growing health crisis of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cardiovascular diseases, with almost 75% of the global NCD deaths occurring in LMICs.

The Novartis Foundation is taking ambitious steps to tackle hypertension, the prime risk factor for cardiovascular disease, in low-income urban communities. Better Hearts Better Cities convenes multisector partners - from food suppliers to health authorities, employers and city planners - to contribute expertise and resources for local solutions that improve cardiovascular health in cities.

The innovative approach is being tested in three cities, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, Dakar, Senegal, and a city in Brazil to be announced later this year."To thrive, cities must become ecosystems of health and wellbeing, where each part works toward the same goal of improving people's quality of life. No single actor can tackle hypertension alone and multisector innovation is needed. This is the driving force behind Better Hearts Better Cities. We plan to create a network of partners to co-design, implement and evaluate interventions that strengthen urban health systems while seeking to innovate the way prevention and care is provided," said Ann Aerts, Head of the Novartis Foundation.