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Year in Review: 10 Advocacy Stories from 2019

Each year, the Global Health Advocacy Incubator works with local partners across the globe to advocate for policies that improve health and save lives. In 2019, we were proud to support our local partners as they pressed for stronger laws, better tools and bigger budgets to prevent drowning, reduce death and injury on the roads, improve healthcare facilities for moms and babies, create healthier food environments and prevent epidemics.

Here are ten things we accomplished together over the past year:

In January, Jamaica implemented a restriction on sugar-sweetened beverages in schools.

In February, the Philippines passed its first bill mandating that children up to 12 years old must ride in car seats. This win followed an intensive advocacy campaign led by six partner organizations that included legal advocacy firms, public universities and civil society organizations. (See also: “Saving lives with car seats in the Philippines,” Global Health Council)

In April, Colombia’s Constitutional Court affirmed the right to air public health messages on TV in the face of industry opposition that had tried to prevent their broadcast.

In May, a new program in Vietnam to save children from drowning was a focal point of the National Action Month for Children.

In June, a successful maternal and reproductive health program in Tanzania was formally handed over to the government following advocacy by health workers and other local stakeholders. (See also: Opinion: How to transition a project from international donor to local government, in Devex.)

In July, GHAI joined the Brisbane Accord Group to support countries in the Pacific to develop sustainable and effective Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) systems, and currently GHAI is providing technical legal assistance to help governments draft new CRVS laws in Cambodia, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.

Also in July, Senegal strengthened its ability to prevent and respond to epidemics by committing to increase public domestic funding and provide a new budget line for the national Emergency Operations Center.

In August, the president of India signed into law an historic new bill to save lives on the country’s roads. This action has the potential to dramatically change the lives of tens of thousands of Indian families in the years to come.

In December, GHAI and Resolve to Save Lives released new guides for rapidly assessing the levels of trans fatty acids in commonly available, industrially-produced foods and oils to help countries eliminate TFAs from their food supplies.

In another win for heart health in December, Brazil’s Health Regulatory Agency, Anvisa, approved strict limits on toxic artificial trans fat in foods.

In 2020, we will be working in even more countries, alongside a growing network of civil society partners. Join our mailing list to follow our journey and be the first to learn about our advocacy tools and lessons learned.