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Introducing the New President of SA Heart

Posted on Tuesday, 20 September 2016 09:45

Dr Liesl Zühlke says she is very honoured to be taking over as president of SA Heart from Prof Karen Sliwa for the next two years. "I look forward to working with you all to advocate for cardiovascular disease prevention, management and control in South Africa and to represent the interests of all our members. Please find attached a letter of introduction and my vision for my tenure"


letter.pdf 318.9K 20 Sep 16 09:45
SA Heart ass Shortened .pdf 93.2K 20 Sep 16 09:45


Posted on Monday, 19 September 2016 09:25

Everyone at SA Heart would like to convey our sincere condolences to Elizabeth Schaafsma on the passing of her mother after a long but bravely borne illness.

New leadership in SA Heart

Posted on Saturday, 10 September 2016 12:32

During the AGM of SA Heart on the evening of 9 September, Dr Liesl Zühlke took over as new President of SA Heart, and Dr Lungile Pepeta became the Vice President. Prof Karen Sliwa who has led the Association through the past two years, continues in the role of Immediate Past President. Prof Smit remains our treasurer, while the chairs of the standing committees will be elected from amongst the newly elected committee members of the respective committees. During the gala celebration Prof Anton Doubell was awarded Honorary membership of SA Heart for the role he played in establishing the Association as well as leading it for a double term in the early years. He was also acknowledged for all his enthusiasm and dedication in initiating and then growing the SA Heart Journal.

Passing of Mrs Rusty Brink

Posted on Tuesday, 16 August 2016 15:41

It is with sadness that we at SA Heart have learnt of the passing of Mrs Rusty Brink, mother of Prof Paul Brink and widow of Prof Brink Snr.

Our sincere condolences to Prof Brink, and the family of friends of Mrs Brink.

SA Heart AGM and Nomination for office bearers

Posted on Tuesday, 26 July 2016 11:25

The SA Heart® NPC AGM will take place on Friday 9th September 2016 at 17h30 in the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

Nomination for office bearers of the SA Heart Executive (treasurer and vice president), committee members for all four standing committees as well as directors for the SA Heart NPC board commences on 14 July 2016 and runs up noon on 12 August 2016.

Please note that only fully paid up ordinary or honorary members can nominate and be nominated for any of these posts. To check your account status, please use your email address to log in on the SA Heart membership portal in top right hand corner of this webpage and ensure you are paid up.

Voting has been made easy and effective, using online, automated application controls that ensure that valid votes are processed accurately and completely.

Please follow this link http://www.mpconsulting.co.za/client/voting/view/48 to create a profile for the nomination and voting platform and follow the instructions on this site. If you have participated in the nomination or voting process in the previous year, or any SAMA elections, your profile is already registered and you can simply log in. Login is required, clicking any other tabs on the website with this link will not take you further in the process.

Please note, when not following the link, you need to type the URL address into the URL window, not into a search engine look up field as a ‘google search’ will not bring up the correct site.

The voting process is handled independently by the Medical Practice Consulting group to ensure transparency and good governance.

Nominees that have been nominated by at least two members into any position will be asked to avail themselves for that post/s and progress into the voting phase.

Voting will commence on the same platform on 18 August 2016.

Thank you for supporting your Association by actively participating in this process.


Johanna Ralston highlights key themes, events and announcements from WCC 2016

Posted on Tuesday, 14 June 2016 16:33

Last week, as you know, the World Heart Federation had the honour of hosting our biennial World Congress of Cardiology & Cardiovascular Health in Mexico City. Thank you to everyone - from our event organizers and hosts to our esteemed speakers, delegates, exhibitors, sponsors and, of course, WHF members - for making the event so stimulating and inspiring. It was wonderful to see the cardiovascular community coming together around our shared goal of a 25% reduction in premature mortality from cardiovascular disease by 2025.

 So much ground was covered in a packed four days that it would be impossible for me to mention everything here. But I would like to give just a few highlights from Mexico in this, our last WCC 2016 Congress News...


The Mexico Declaration

One of the most significant events of Congress came when leading global organizations signed the Mexico Declaration for Circulatory Health, the first ever global commitment of its kind.  The declaration was the culmination of the Global Summit on Circulatory Health and Shared Challenges of 25by25, which took place on the opening day of WCC 2016. It is recognition that, unless health professionals, governments, businesses and the public find a common voice that paves the way for much-needed action now, the number of premature deaths as a result of cardiovascular diseases will keep increasing.


Women and CVD

Heart disease and stroke are the number one killer of women around the world, responsible for over two million premature deaths in women each year. This makes preventing and managing CVDs in women absolutely vital if we are to meet our 25by25 target.


WCC 2016 placed a focus on women's heart health, in particular when WHF and our members the American Heart Association (AHA) convened professionals, policy experts and scientists from around the world at the 5th International Conference of Women, Heart Disease and Stroke. We were also pleased to encourage all delegates to wear red on 6 June in support of AHA's Go Red For Women awareness-raising campaign.


A focus on Latin America and tobacco

On the first day of Congress, we were able to highlight new research that shows the economic burden of heart disease in Latin America for the first time: a figure that totalled over US$30.9bn in 2015. The full research report was presented at WCC 2016 and discussions were held on the latest technological advances and practical examples of how local interventions from different countries can help save lives.


While in Mexico our aim was to leave a lasting legacy by using Congress as a platform to support adoption of a national tobacco control law, supporting the #LibredeHumo campaign to make Mexico smoke-free. To this end we encouraged delegates and the wider CV community to sign the campaign petition, which was presented in the Mexican Senate on 7 June, and we were delighted to host the wedding of Jeff the Diseased Lung and Lupita the Broken Heart to raise awareness of the campaign.


Dr Eduardo Bianco from the Framework Convention Alliance also presented the World Heart Federation's CVD Roadmap on Tobacco Control: a tool for prioritizing actions for reducing prevalence of tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure by implementing the global tobacco control treaty (WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control).


Rheumatic Heart Disease

The World Heart Federation has a proud tradition of supporting RHD control over a number of decades. In particular, we have been able to keep RHD on the global agenda following the conclusion of the WHO Global Programme for the Prevention and Control of RF/RHD in 2002. That programme was the first concerted global effort to understand the burden of this disease and to support countries to deliver RHD control activities.


We were delighted to co-host the RHD Action reception at WCC 2016, with speakers including Dr Liesl Zühlke and Professor Jonathan Carapetis, Co-Directors RhEACH, the former responsible officer for the WHO Global Programme, Dr Porfirio Nordet, Dr Oyere Onuma, Medical Officer for CVD at the World Health Organization and Paurvi Bhatt from Medtronic Foundation.


We also made our own RHD Roadmap available for consultation, and saw the launch of the Global RHD Status Report as well as the announcement of INVICTUS, the biggest ever RHD patient trial about which Dr Salim Yusuf, President of the World Heart Federation and Chairman of the Steering Committee of INVICTUS, commented:


“The launch of the RHD patient registry and trial programme on such a global scale forms a really key part of the international efforts underway to reduce RHD mortality rates and help meet the WHO 25by25 target. The registry of 20,000 patients from across all continents is ambitious but must be fulfilled if real progress is to be made and effective measures developed for those countries most affected to urgently put in place.”


Increasing worldwide use of 'polypills'

At the end of Congress, physicians, researchers, economists, policymakers and industry experts met to discuss the use of fixed dose combinations pills, or 'polypills', as a key strategy to increase adherence to life-saving medications for patients with CVD.


Dr Salim Yusuf, President of the World Heart Federation and co-chair of the polypill initiative, said:


“Many of the discussions at this year’s World Congress of Cardiology and Cardiovascular Health have centred on reducing premature cardiovascular morality and the WHF priority areas of hypertension control, tobacco control and secondary prevention.


“Use of medicines for secondary prevention of CVD is extremely inadequate in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) and is suboptimal in high-income countries. In LMICs, these drugs are not available and when available, they are often not affordable. Use of a ‘polypill’ can improve affordability and access to these lifesaving drugs.”


A rallying call to arms

At the start of Congress we announced a new joint WHF/AHA scientific statement that shows premature deaths from cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) could rise by a third by 2025 worldwide. In the closing ceremony of WCC 2016, Dr Salim Yusuf ended with a rallying call to for experts and influencers worldwide to unite to accelerate the fight for heart health.


Over the course of the four days, we catalysed the global CVD community’s commitment and energy towards common goals and speaking with one voice. Now it is time to translate commitment into action, including ensuring we all support the WHO Global Action plan and develop national plans and systems to support heart health.


Posted on Friday, 27 May 2016 21:29


Alastair White, Advocacy Assistant at the World Heart Federation, delivers the WHF Agenda Item 13.3 statement, focusing on the link between ensuring women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health and preventing and treating rheumatic heart disease (RHD).

World Heart Federation Statement: Agenda Item 13.3 – operational plan to take forward the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health
RHD is a preventable, treatable form of cardiovascular disease that affects over 32 million people around the world and claims 275,000 lives annually. Although virtually eliminated in Europe and North America, the disease remains common in Africa, the Middle East, Central and South Asia, the South Pacific, and in impoverished pockets of developed nations.

The WHF chose to focus its statement on RHD as this disease disproportionately affects women, children and adolescents: RHD is the most commonly acquired heart disease in young people under the age of 25. It also has severe implications for young women and maternal health.

In the statement the WHF made three recommendations to be considered when countries implement the Global Strategy:

  1.      Monitor maternal, child and adolescent health outcomes using national registers, which have long improved health outcomes for women, children and adolescents living with RHD
  2.      Implement selected interventions from the TIPS Framework, a toolkit for implementing RHD control programmes, in basic universal health coverage packages
  3.      Orient universal health coverage priorities towards inclusivity and financial protection to ensure care for every woman, child and adolescent

In 2015, the World Heart Federation co-founded a global movement, RHD Action, to tackle the global burden of rheumatic heart disease: find out more here.

Side event: GCM/NCD Breakfast Meeting at the International Committee of the Red Cross
The World Heart Federation advocacy team also attended a side event hosted by the Global Coordinating Mechanism on Non-communicable Diseases (GCM/NCD), which was held in the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) building in Geneva.

The GCM coordinates the activities of civil society and UN organizations that are working to reduce the global burden of NCDs. Led by Member States, it carries out this work through organizing working groups – which produce reports on topics ranging from health education to financing – hosting webinars and discussion forums, and carrying out country studies.

In addition to providing an opportunity for the GCM to update participants on its upcoming activities, GCM staff at the event invited participants to consider what would constitute success for the GCM in several years’ time, and how it could better engage with both civil society and also the general public.


Posted on Thursday, 26 May 2016 19:47


World Heart Federation Side Event: Tackling CVD through Primary Health Care
The World Heart Federation was delighted to host this stimulating side event, attended by a wide variety of NGOs, private sector organizations, UN Bodies and country representatives. The event was divided into two panel discussions. The first considered the challenges of meeting patients’ needs in limited-resource settings, while the second was tasked with finding solutions by tackling CVD through primary health care.


The event was chaired by World Heart Federation President Dr Salim Yusuf, who observed that many gaps in health care delivery still remain: he invited the audience to consider what could be done to narrow these gaps in health care delivery, and to better understand the barriers preventing access to care, and implement solutions.


Panel 1: Meeting patients’ needs in limited-resource settings
The first panel was comprised of two guest speakers and moderated by Dr Kathryn Taubert, Vice President (Global Strategies) of the American Heart Association.

Professor Bongani Mayosi, President of the Pan-African Society of Cardiology (PASCAR), noted that many low- and middle-income countries are undergoing a rapid socio-economic transition, which has been accompanied by a rising burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

Drawing on the example of South Africa, he noted that this rise is occurring in many countries against a background of chronic infections such as HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis (TB). This has led to multi-morbidities in many people, for example patients who were living with both HIV and hypertension. Professor Mayosi emphasized several challenges in particular, bearing in mind both the patient and health care provider perspectives, and the need to reform health systems. Nevertheless he expressed optimism about these challenges being met, declaring: "we know it can be done, we know the world can do it".

Professor Mayosi was followed by Nick Hartshorne-Evans, Founder and CEO of Pumping Marvellous Foundation. Mr Hartshorne-Evans explored different aspects of the journey undergone by those diagnosed with heart failure: the fear and apprehension on being diagnosed, their desire for a ‘quick fix’ and their need to understand exactly how their lives will be affected. He emphasiszd the responsibility of health workers to engage and empathize with patients and to inspire confidence in their own ability to manage their self-care.


Panel 2: Finding solutions by tackling CVD through Primary Health Care
The second panel – moderated by Professor Gerald Yonga from the East Africa NCD Alliance – aimed to find solutions to improve CVD prevention and treatment at the primary health care level. 

There was broad consensus among the panellists that the way health systems are presently organized – with a heavy reliance on doctors – is unsustainable. Ed Harding, Director of the Heart Failure Partnership at the Heart Failure Policy Network, declared that increasing the involvement of specialized, non-physician health workers (NPHWs) was an "essential step".

This view was supported by the Head of the NCD Division in the Kenyan Ministry of Health, Dr Joseph K. Mwangi, who indicated that non-physician health workers were better placed to empathize with patients than doctors, as they could spend significantly more time with them.

Coordinator in the NCD department in WHO, Dr Cherian Varghese, said more needed to be done at primary health care level to anticipate the number of patients coming to clinics and to understand their needs. He drew attention to HIV and ante-natal clinics as examples to be emulated, where health systems had become more organized and effective. However he also reminded the audience of the importance of gaining patients’ trust, saying this would be achieved through ensuring that when patients did travel to clinics, the medicines and care they needed was available.

Discussions did not focus solely on the strengthening and restructuring of health systems, however: Carlos Garcia of Novartis observed that from the many pilot interventions they had supported that the "persistent will" of those involved was a key difference in ensuring a programme’s success. Dr Dorairaj Prabhakaran, Executive Director of the Centre for Chronic Disease Control, India, invited the audience to look beyond the patient-health worker paradigm, arguing that issues concerning nutrition and the marketing of certain foods also needed to be addressed.


Concluding remarks
Offered the chance to provide their final reflections on the event, the panellists identified multi-stakeholder partnerships, increased political will, a simplified and restructured health system at the primary health care level and an increased role for non-physician health workers as the essential steps for tackling CVD through primary health care.

Dr Salim Yusuf concluded the event by echoing these remarks, declaring: "I hope we can reimagine what primary health care is going to be".




Posted on Wednesday, 25 May 2016 17:20


Professor Gerald Yonga makes a statement on Health in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 

The second day at the World Health Assembly focused in particular on one issue: the position of health in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The World Heart Federation and NCD Alliance submitted a joint statement on this agenda item, and the WHF attended a technical briefing on the topic, held in the Palais des Nations.


WHF and NCD Alliance Statement on Health in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
The statement, which was discussed in both morning and afternoon sessions, was delivered by Professor Gerald Yonga, Head of the NCD Research Policy Unit at Aga Khan University and member of the Kenya Cardiac Society.

The statement called for a proactive approach to implementing the Sustainable Development Goals, which were agreed at the UN General Assembly in New York last year. It also emphasized that "ensuring healthy lives and promoting wellbeing for all at all ages requires concerted action to address NCDs".

The statement made several recommendations, including:

  • The development of a review framework to ensure all are held accountable for delivering the 2030 Agenda
  • Increased country financing to achieve the SDGs
  • Meaningful engagement of civil society in implementing the 2030 Agenda

Technical Briefing: Health in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: Intersectoral Action
The World Heart Federation also attended a technical briefing on Health in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which took place at lunchtime in the Palais des Nations. Discussions focused on the need to view health within the context of all of the Sustainable Development Goals and to establish links with other sectors, such as education, energy and social protection.

Speakers included WHO Director General Dr Margaret Chan, Assistant Director General for Health Systems and Innovation Marie-Paule Kieny, Ministry of Health representatives from China, Chile and Thailand, and Sunita Narain, an environmental activist from the Centre for Science and Environment.

Margaret Chan praised the packed room, saying it was testament to the importance given to the Agenda by countries and civil society. Dr Chan also emphasized the need for different sectors to talk to each other and the importance of taking action on behalf of young people who would, she warned, "take the flak" if the 2030 Agenda is not implemented.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Health for Thailand, Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn, identified NCDs as a major threat to development. He called for action on tobacco, alcohol, fast food and sugar-sweetened beverages, and said a balance between soft power and legal action was the best way to achieve meaningful results.


Side event: Implementation of successful, cost-effective, evidence-based NCD interventions – how the United Nations Inter-agency Taskforce (UNIATF) can help countries accelerate the prevention and control of NCDs by 2030
The World Heart Federation was also delighted to attend a side event organized by the Russian Federation on the implementation of successful, cost-effective NCD interventions.

In his introduction, Nick Banatvula, a Senior Advisor at the WHO, explained that the UN Inter-Agency Taskforce concentrated on how the UN could work at country level. For these programmes, UN agencies, such as UNICEF, UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) and the World Bank, undertake missions to countries and help to identify the support they need in order to reduce their burden of NCDs. 

Ministers of Health from countries as diverse as Oman, Barbados, Kenya and Peru discussed the successes of the joint programmes so far, as well as their needs for further assistance from UN agencies.

Minister of Health for Barbados, Dr John Boyce, identified stroke, hypertension and ischaemic heart disease as priorities for cost-effective interventions, while Dr Rajitha Senarathne, Minister of Health for Sri Lanka, stated that screening for diabetes, hypertension and cholesterol would be provided free of charge.




Posted on Wednesday, 25 May 2016 10:57


Margaret Chan, Director General of the WHO, gives an emotive address on the first day of the World Health Assembly.

While Dr Chan praised the work achieved during the Millennium Development Goal era, she stated that the world was facing "three slow-motion disasters":  a changing environment; antimicrobial resistance; and the rise of chronic NCDs - the leading killers worldwide.

Dr Chan made further reference to NCDs in her speech, specifically mentioning:

  • Air pollution is a trans-boundary hazard that affects the global atmosphere and transcends national boundaries
  • The marketing of unhealthy food and beverages, especially to children, is now a global phenomenon
  • Highly processed foods that are cheap, convenient and tasty gain a bigger market share than fruit and vegetables
  • No country can tackle NCDs without strong policy on tobacco control guided by the FCTC

Side event: Insecurity & Social Determinants of Health
The World Heart Federation was pleased to represent the NCD community at this event hosted by the World Medical Association. The meeting was chaired by Sir Michael Marmot, a long-standing leader in health inequalities who has also conducted groundbreaking studies in heart disease and stroke.

The event explored examples of health inequalities and their impact on national health systems, with a special focus on the health workforce, using national examples from Colombia.

This complements the theme of the forthcoming WHF side event on 25 May - 'Tackling CVD through Primary Health Care' - which will explore how, by mobilizing the primary health care workforce, we can tackle the injustice of heart disease.

Side event: Accelerating National Progress on Tackling Child Obesity and Child Undernutrition in a Sustainable Way
This event saw Ministers of Health from around the world announce SMART commitments to reduce the global ‘double burden’ of childhood obesity and undernutrition.

Chaired by Professor Corinna Hawkes of the Centre for Food Policy at City University London, Ministers of Health and representatives from governments as diverse as Canada, Bangladesh, Finland and Namibia, declared policies and initiatives to tackle this issue.

Director General Margaret Chan condemned the continuing existence of undernutrition, stating: "the world produces enough food for everybody".

The audience was also treated to an address by British campaigner and celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, who has recently launched a Food Revolution which aims for a world where every child has access to fresh and nutritious food.

Side event: NCD Alliance – Making the Case for NCDs: Sustainable Investments, Smarter Financing
The World Heart Federation attended a meeting organized by the NCD Alliance, of which the WHF is a founding member. During the meeting, five panellists discussed topics such as where the money financing NCDs currently comes from, and why a human-rights-based argument for providing health care for NCDs was not sufficient.

The panel was comprised of representatives from the Philippines and Thailand, Rachel Nugent of RTI International, Suresh Kumar of Sanofi and Dr Matshidiso Moeti, Regional Director for the AFRO region of WHO.

The moderator, Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief of the Lancet, observed at the end of the event that discussions had evolved from technical issues to those focusing on youth, advocacy, patient champions and making a strong political case for increasing funding for NCDs.

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