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2022 Year in Review: Behind the Numbers

Elected Officials and community members with the National Support Harm Reduction Campaign Memorial in Newark, NJ 1
Vital Strategies created the first traveling national Overdose Memorial, and the first installation was unveiled in Newark, New Jersey on International Overdose Awareness Day with Newark Mayor Ras Baraka and local advocates.
Participants during the amendment of the maps_Cameroon_Oct 22 1
Vital Strategies' Civil Registration and Vital Statistics program, part of the Data for Health initiative, supported a workshop in October 2022 in Mfou, Cameroon to develop an action plan for institutionalization of CRVS process maps.
On Nov. 17, the city of Buenos Aires carried out a tactical urban planning project aimed at redistributing the use of streets, gaining space for pedestrians, and achieving a real change in drivers' behavior so that they adapt their speed to 20 km in school environments. Children and adults painted streets with messages calling for slower speeds and dedicated bike lanes.
Discussing the challenges of lead poisoning
Local leaders discuss the challenges of lead poisoning at a site in Indonesia as part of Vital’s Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention program.
As a part of the Partnership for Healthy Cities initiative, high-fatality intersections in the downtown of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic were given crosswalks and other pedestrian protections and traffic-calming measures to reduce speeding.
Youth Union in Vietnam advocate for smoke-free beaches
Young people from Binh Thuan Youth Union in Vietnam advocate for smoke-free beaches.
Vital Strategies trains Accredited Social Health Activists
Vital Strategies trains Accredited Social Health Activists, professionals who act as a bridge between the health care system in India and the community, on air pollution and how to mitigate its effects on health.
Terrell is a harm reduction advocate and worker, who appeared in Vital Strategies' Overdose Prevention Initiative’s national Support Harm Reduction campaign which was launched in February 2022 and seen over 5 million times.
Rwanda has quadrupled its registration of deaths in the country with Vital Strategies support. At this hospital in Kigali, Sister Fortunata Nzwige (midwife and vital events notifier) and Happy Mwkizu (data entry clerk) enter data.
Barbados Food Policy Campaign
"Are We Drinking Ourselves Sick?" was a 2022 campaign supported by Vital Strategies in Barbados which called on the government to support policies that reduce consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages.

Behind each number is a story of
success in public health.


drop in the number of drivers observed speeding in Accra, Ghana from 2019 to 2022.


top tax to be levied on sugar-sweetened beverages by 2025 in Colombia.


increase in birth and death registration in Bangladesh from 2015 to 2022.

These aren’t just cold data points: They represent stronger health systems, more productive and prosperous communities, and millions of people living healthier, longer lives.

Since 2004, Vital Strategies has partnered with governments, communities and organizations to design and implement evidence-based, locally driven policies and practices to advance public health using four key approaches: policymaking for health, strategic communication and advocacy, program implementation, and data-driven decision-making.

The cities and countries we work with own these successes and they are the ones who will sustain them. Here, we unpack the numbers and tell the stories behind them.


Dustin Hunt, artist and founder of Muralmatics, in front of one of three murals Vital Strategies commissioned to symbolize the impact of the drug overdose crisis in partnership with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and City Walls Detroit. The murals promote the message that substance abuse disorder is a chronic health condition not a moral failing.

President and CEO

Read more from Vital Strategies’ President and CEO, José Luis Castro

read the letter

Read more from Vital Strategies' Chair of the Board, Louis James de Viel Castel

read the letter

2022 Program Spotlights

In 2015, Vital Strategies began work in Accra, Ghana—as part of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety. A study showed that the percentage of drivers exceeding the speed limit dropped from 81% when the work began to 51% in 2022. The number is still too high, but evidence that progress is possible.

40% of the world's people go uncounted. In 2016, Bangladesh began innovative approaches to increase birth and death registration in one sub-district. By 2022, the country increased its birth and death registration fivefold nationally with Vital's support.

In December 2022, Colombia's president signed a hefty tax on sugar-sweetened beverages into law—topping out in 2025 at 20% for the drinks highest in sugar. Vital was a part of the seven-year communication and advocacy effort that built support for passage of the law.

Tobacco companies market their deadly products on social media—often using hidden strategies to circumvent marketing restrictions. Vital’s Tobacco Enforcement and Reporting Movement (TERM) uses AI-driven, expert-verified monitoring to collect examples of tobacco marketing in India, Indonesia and Mexico, to reveal rich insights into predatory marketing practices. It’s the kind of evidence governments need to strengthen tobacco control polices.

Results of Clinical Trial Change the Landscape for Treatment of Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis


Pharmacists in Ethiopia prepare medicines for STREAM participants.

The STREAM clinical trial is the world’s largest multidrug-resistant tuberculosis trial ever conducted, with over 1,000 participants recruited from eight countries on three continents. In November 2022, STREAM released results in The Lancet showing that two new shortened treatment regimens are both safe and effective in treating MDR-TB, and also result in lower direct costs to patients. In addition to transforming treatment standards, STREAM offers important implementation lessons for future trials. STREAM was sponsored by Vital Strategies and implemented with global partners, including the Medical Research Council Clinical Trials Unit at University College London, the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, and Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine.

Reimagining Public Health

Vital Strategies carries out its mission—to work in partnership to reimagine evidence-based, locally driven policies and practices to advance public health—with programs focused on five key domains: Urban Health, Environmental Health and Climate Change, Noncommunicable Diseases, Injury Prevention and Public Health Systems. Read more here about our 2022 work in each of these focus areas.

Our world has urbanized so rapidly that by 2050, 68% of the people in the world are expected to live in cities. Our city-focused work encompasses Road Safety in up to 30 cities and Air Pollution and Health in urban areas, primarily in Indonesia and India. In addition, Vital implements the Partnership for Healthy Cities, a network of 70 cities focused on preventing noncommunicable diseases and injuries.

Our health as humans is deeply connected to the health of the environments where we live. The vast majority of people in the world—90%—breathe polluted air, and WHO air quality guidelines show that no safe level of air pollution exists. Our Air Pollution and Health team provides technical expertise and consultative services to inform policies and influence public discourse around air pollution and its health impacts. Children are at particular risk from environmental hazards: Vital’s Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention program works with governments in India, Indonesia, Peru and the Philippines to improve surveillance, treatment and policies to prevent lead poisoning.

NCDs such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease are responsible for 71% of all deaths globally. Vital’s Food Policy and Tobacco Control programs use policy advocacy and strategic communication to address two of the biggest drivers of NCDs. The Partnership for Healthy Cities supports a variety of NCD prevention programs across its 70-city network. In 2022, Vital launched RESET Alcohol, part of our Alcohol Policy  program. RESET brings together national governments, civil society, research organizations, and global leaders in public health and alcohol policy to develop and implement evidence-based alcohol policies from the World Health Organization’s SAFER technical package.

Injuries are the leading causes of death among children and young adults—and most injuries are preventable. Vital’s Road Safety program, part of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety, uses a comprehensive, evidence-based approach to reduce road crashes, injuries and deaths in up to 15 countries and 30 cities. Our Overdose Prevention program uses a public health approach to address rising drug overdose deaths, promoting harm reduction and emphasizing a just, nonpunitive approach to treatment. And, as part of our crosscutting focus on gender equity, Vital’s Data for Health team studies ways to identify gender-based violence from data on deaths and injuries—providing essential information to governments and the public on a widespread but underreported issue.

To strengthen and embolden public health, institutions such as ministries of health and local health departments need the capacity to collect, analyze and use data. Vital’s Data for Health programs—encompassing Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS), Data Impact, Cancer Registries and the Global Grants Program—support our country partners as they build robust data systems, including assisting with tools to analyze available health data, inform policy solutions and maximize resources for greatest impact.

Meet Our Team

Vital Strategies is a global organization of scientists, researchers, advocates, communicators and innovators, supported by experts in operations and finance, working in partnership to reimagine evidence-based, locally driven policies and practices to advance public health. We profile our colleagues in an ongoing series we call Vital People. Read about the Vital Strategies team members we profiled in 2022.

Vital's Global Presence

Vital Strategies’ seven global offices—in Addis Ababa, Jinan, New Delhi, New York City, Paris, São Paulo and Singapore—engage with governments, change-makers and advocates with deep local knowledge to advance scalable, sustainable policies that ultimately prevent illness and injury and save lives. Our offices serve as hubs for our dedicated team of experts—330 employees, plus consultants—implementing programs in more than 80 countries. We are primed to take on new opportunities from start to finish and bring global best practice to new locations.

We’re grateful to the funders who have made our lifesaving work possible.

Bloomberg Philanthropies Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation CDC Foundation CDP Chan Zukerberg Initiative Climatework Foundation DAI Fidelity Charitable Fondation H&B Agerup Gates Philanthropy Partners Janssen Jewish Communal Fund JSI Lyda Hill Philanthropies National Philanthropic Trust Open Philanthropy UNICEF USAID