WHO HEARTS Package: a guide to CVD management

Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the number one cause of death worldwide. More people die each year from cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) than from any other cause, with over three-quarters of heart disease and stroke-related deaths occurring in low- and middle-income countries.

Together with diabetes, hypertension and obesity, CKD is a well-known and very common CVDs co-morbidity.

In order to provide a clear and simple strategy to efficiently manage and prevent CVDs in primary health care settings, WHO has recently released the updated HEARTS Technical package.

The HEARTS technical package comprises six modules and an implementation guide. The practical, step-by step modules are supported by an overarching technical document that provides a rationale and framework for this integrated approach to the management of non-communicable diseases (NCDs). This package supports Ministries of Health to strengthen management of cardio-vascular diseases (CVD) and common co-morbidities such as kidney disease (KD) in primary health care settings.

The International Society of Nephrology (ISN) has proudly participated in the update of the HEARTS technical package, ensuring that relevant interventions were included and kidney disease featured in all relevant modules.

“This is a great step towards CVD and kidney disease prevention. We are proud to have contributed to the creation of such a tool that truly tackles CVDs management and provides concrete interventions at national and local level” said Dr. Valerie Luyckx, who personally reviewed all HEARTS modules on behalf of ISN.

HEARTS modules are intended for use by policymakers and program managers at different levels within Ministries of Health who can influence CVD primary care delivery. Different sections of each module are aimed at different levels of the health system and different cadres of workers. All modules will require adaptation at country level, taking into consideration different health priorities, needs and budgets.

By implementing WHO’s suggested approach, countries will be able to improve CVD prevention and in turn reduce the incidence of kidney disease.

If you have access to your local primary care facility managers, clinics, local hospitals, inform them about the HEARTS package and encourage them to implement practical interventions that can help save lives.

For more information on the Global Circulatory Health initiative and to access the HEARTS technical package, please go to: https://www.who.int/cardiovascular_diseases/hearts/en/