Global cardiovascular care: an overview of high-level political commitment


Vervoort D, Parikh UM, Raj A, Swain JD.Asian Cardiovasc Thorac Ann. 2020 May 27:218492320930844. doi: 10.1177/0218492320930844. Online ahead of print.PMID: 32460512



Background: Six billion people worldwide lack access to safe, timely, and affordable cardiac surgical and interventional care when needed. Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of mortality and morbidity around the world, and include a significant surgical backlog of rheumatic and congenital heart diseases. Here, we review the political commitment by the WHO, the UN, and the World Bank to build and strengthen healthcare services for cardiovascular diseases, with a particular focus on cardiac surgical and interventional cardiology services around the world.

Methods: A literature search was performed in the WHO, UN, and World Bank Governing Body databases to identify policy documents mentioning curative cardiovascular disease care. The Governing Body documentation, the Institutional Repository for Information Sharing database of the WHO, and the Official Document System of the UN were used. Documents only discussing prevention of cardiovascular diseases were excluded.

Results: Fifty-nine unique documents were identified, including 56 from the WHO, 3 from the World Bank, and none from the UN; 12 (20.4%) documents mentioned cardiac surgery, and 6 (10.2%) contained some actionable language to incorporate cardiac surgical services, but none was explicitly dedicated to cardiac surgical services.

Conclusion: Although growing, high-level political commitment for curative cardiovascular health services remains minimal. Increased awareness is needed to develop comprehensive cardiovascular care that is necessary to mitigate the increasing burden of premature morbidity and mortality from cardiac disease, and to work towards the Sustainable Development Goals and Universal Health Coverage.