WASHINGTON, D.C., June 19, 2020 – The World Health Organization (WHO) is essential to the global response to infectious diseases such as COVID-19, particularly in poor and low-resource countries in dire need of support. Reducing the United States’ leadership and investment in WHO would not only harm the global response to COVID-19, but weaken the global community’s ability to prevent and combat other major health threats, including noncommunicable disease (NCDs).

NCDs are the top killers in the world, with cardiovascular disease (CVD) claiming the most lives globally at 17.9 million per year. The global response to COVID-19 must focus on the unique health needs of people impacted by NCDs, and CVD in particular, as emerging evidence suggests that people with NCDs are at higher risk of becoming severely ill or dying from the coronavirus. This global pandemic has highlighted the link between vulnerability to communicable disease and the need to strengthen global health care systems to achieve universal access to health care. Many individuals with pre-existing conditions are simply not receiving the most basic of health services, pointing to the dire need for countries to find innovative ways to provide essential care during the COVID-19 pandemic while supporting the ongoing needs of those living with NCDs.

The WHO’s work to combat infectious diseases have helped increase life expectancy around the globe. Together with global partners, we have made great strides in HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and maternal and child health. These investments are now being leveraged to support NCD and CVD prevention and control. The American Heart Association, the world’s leading nonprofit organization focused on heart and brain health for all, strongly urges Congress and the Administration to preserve the United States’ leadership role and support for these essential WHO efforts. The fight against CVD and NCDs is global, and the global public health community must be united in pursuit of the vision we share of longer, healthier lives for all.


About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is a leading force for a world of longer, healthier lives. With nearly a century of lifesaving work, the Dallas-based association is dedicated to ensuring equitable health for all. We are a trustworthy source empowering people to improve their heart health, brain health and well-being. We collaborate with numerous organizations and millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, advocate for stronger public health policies and share lifesaving resources and information. Connect with us on heart.orgFacebookTwitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.

For media inquiries please contact:
Suniti Sarah Bal – 916-390-1860; suniti.bal@heart.org