It is not an obvious moment for a new global health initiative, let alone one that focuses on cardiovascular disease. Rising populism and nationalism in wealthy nations is undermining support for the use of international aid to promote better health in poorer populations. With the prospect of aid retrenchment on the horizon, many in the global health community have called for prioritizing existing programs on infectious diseases, child, and maternal health. Despite staggering increases in the rates of diabetes, cancers, and cardiovascular diseases in developing nations, the share of donor support that goes to addressing these noncommunicable diseases has fallen in recent years.
Tom Frieden, the former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recently announced a new initiative, called Resolve to Save Lives, that runs counter to all these trends. Frieden spoke at a session of the Global Health, Economics, and Development Roundtable Series at CFR's headquarters in New York to discuss this new initiative, and to explain why he believes it can prevent 100 million deaths from cardiovascular disease in poorer nations and help control outbreaks of emerging infectious diseases before they become pandemics.