World Heart Day is celebrated each year on 29 September to raise awareness and mobilise international action against cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Acknowledging the day the World Heart Federation (WHF) is calling for urgent action on climate change and health inequity, saying millions more lives are now at risk from cardiovascular disease, which is still the world’s biggest killer.
According to the Federation, climate change and air pollution are responsible for 25% of deaths from cardiovascular disease, killing seven million people annually. These deaths and the wider impacts of climate change disproportionately affect vulnerable populations.
Alongside the World Health Organization (WHO), WHF is calling on governments, civil society, and global industry to meet net-zero targets, to tackle global warming and curb air pollution, and to deliver healthcare access for all.
“Climate change is not about polar bears or icebergs anymore. It’s about people’s health, especially poor people’s health. We need to reduce emissions in the name of health otherwise we will see more and more disasters and more suffering everywhere,” said Dr Maria Neira, Director of Department of Environment, Climate Change and Health at WHO.
A recent global survey by WHF revealed that people perceive social inequality and access to healthcare as the second most serious issue for cardiovascular, with health and climate change and air pollution ranked third. Eighty percent of respondents highlighted government action as essential to reducing the burden of CVD.
WHF is also urging healthcare providers to issue regular reminders to at-risk groups about the dangers of extreme weather events, including tips on managing excessive heat events.
“We know what works in prevention and in treatment of the world’s biggest killer. It is time for scaled up implementation and shared responsibility,” Professor Fausto Pinto, President of WHF said.