FLORENCE, S.C. — Medtronic, a medical device company that develops and manufactures new technologies and therapies to treat chronic diseases worldwide, announced the launch of a new program called HealthRise. The five-year Medtronic Philanthropy program will support community-based demonstration projects devised to expand access to the care and management of chronic, non-communicable diseases.
Medtronic reportedly invested $17 million into establishing HealthRise.
Non-communicable diseases, though non-infectious and non-transmissible, kill more than 36 million people each year. Cardiovascular diseases account for the most number of deaths from non-communicable diseases, followed by cancers, respiratory diseases and diabetes.
Many who die from the diseases are out of reach from quality care and lack either money, transportation or sufficient knowledge of their condition.
The first HealthRise projects will be implemented in selected communities within Brazil, India, South Africa and the United States. Public health experts, community groups and local leaders will lead assessments of the health care systems in their respective regions. Specifically, they will identify barriers and gaps within the population in regards to health care access.
The project will also issue grants to community organizations in order to strengthen health care services and improve the lives of those suffering from non-communicable diseases.
“Global change in health care access begins on the front lines of villages, towns and cities all around the world,” said Jacob A. Gayle, the Vice President of Medtronic Philanthropy. “We expect that by convening experts and making resources more readily available, we will help fill a real need in the effort to strengthen health systems so that people at risk for, or living with a chronic disease, can live longer, higher-quality lives.”
HealthRise projects are expected to proceed according to the Continuum of Care approach adopted by Medtronic Philanthropy. Based on this approach, grants will be allocated for patient empowerment and education programs, recruitment and training efforts for front-line health care workers and local initiatives to set policies that would expand treatment access for non-communicable diseases.
Medtronic Philanthropy chose two global partners to supervise and evaluate the upcoming HealthRise projects. Abt Associated will coordinate the country-level and worldwide programs by engaging experts and stakeholders, supporting small organizations that are making local efforts and using results from the country-level programs to decide on new education and policy endeavors.
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington will monitor the HealthRise projects and make assessments from the results, which will then be shared with the global health community.
The World Health Assembly urged the world to reduce premature mortality from non-communicable diseases by 25 percent by 2025. However, the budgets and policies already established in many countries are unable to stimulate localized action to help achieve that goal.
Dr. Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, said that past approaches to address the growing burden of non-communicable diseases in underserved populations were not successfully implemented or evaluated.
“The hope with HealthRise is that through collaboration with local leaders and stakeholders, we may see the spark that jumpstarts community-level efforts to drive down the rates of non-communicable diseases, while developing best practices that can be replicated in other geographies,” Murray said.
– Kristy Liao