A new name in global health - Vital Strategies was launched today, with a mission of reducing disease and premature death and helping to deliver a world where every person has the protection of a strong public health system ( www.vitalstrategies.org).
The Vital Strategies brand was created following the uniting of The Union North America (UNA) and World Lung Foundation (WLF) - both New York-based organizations with a track record of delivering evidence-based interventions to improve global health. UNA, an affiliate of The International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union), and WLF initially focused on combatting the global burden of tuberculosis, tobacco use and lung disease, and have more recently expanded their expertise across a wider variety of health issues, including non-communicable diseases, maternal health and road safety. Vital Strategies will leverage this expertise and experience into a new model that supports the design and implementation of transformational health programs.
Vital Strategies will remain an affiliate of The Union and the close relationship between the two organizations will allow them to continue to work seamlessly together, united in efforts to address public health challenges around the world.
José Luis Castro, President and Chief Executive Officer of Vital Strategies, said: "The combination of UNA and WLF under the Vital Strategies brand produces a global organization with a proud history, specifically designed to combat the world's most pressing health issues. Our organization has many strengths: a team of experienced professionals with diverse expertise across critical public health functions; UNA and WLF's established track record of collaboration and assistance to governments, international organizations and civil society; and a reputation for delivering results for donors and clients.
"Last year's Tobacco Atlas, the Global Burden of Disease study and the forthcoming WHO report on air pollution are just three of many reports to document the global burden of needless premature death and chronic disease. We are ready to assist governments to build stronger health systems, implement more efficient health policies and provide citizens with the information they need to make healthier choices so the health-related goals set out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development are within reach.
"Vital Strategies underlines the urgency of our mission and enables us to advocate for a wider range of critical health issues. While our team continues to deliver upon its existing commitments, we are working with donors, partners and governments to identify where we can help to provide scalable, additional assistance. We are very excited about the contribution we will make in the coming years and believe that with some of the world's leading professionals working as one, we will have even greater impact in achieving our common goals."
Vital Strategies will continue to deliver UNA and WLF initiatives and build upon their achievements to date, including:
• Strengthening public health data systems in 20 low- and middle-income countries
• Implementing the STREAM clinical trial in several countries, alongside Union offices and other partners around the world, to evaluate shortened treatment regimens for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis. This landmark trial will provide evidence on the effectiveness of regimens as short as six (6) months duration compared to the current treatment duration of 24 months - a potentially enormous step forward for affected communities
• Serving as a key partner in a global initiative to reduce traffic-related fatalities in 10 large cities
• Reaching more than two (2) billion people through over 160 strategic health communication campaigns in over 30 countries, using paid media such as TV, social and mobile media and community-level mobilization
• Training more than 5100 people from 96 countries in critical public health areas and management. This includes pioneering the use of task-shifting to improve access to emergency obstetric care in rural Tanzania and initiating a program to increase access to specialist pulmonary healthcare in Ethiopia
• Distributing more than $US 100 million to governments and civil society groups in more than 96 countries
A competency-based model to deliver assistance in a timely way
Vital Strategies' expert, multi-disciplinary global team combines evidence-based strategies with innovative ideas to help build stronger health systems, develop sound public health policies and design powerful strategic communication campaigns. The team has extensive experience in delivering the full range of interventions needed to produce improvements in public health, including advocacy, policy development, project management, strategic communication programs, workforce development, epidemiology and surveillance, and research and evaluation. By combining functional and subject area specialists, Vital Strategies is able to deliver timely, efficient and effective assistance to governments across multiple health challenges.