In commemoration of the Heart Awareness Month and World Heart Day 29th September, Philips Foundation in collaboration with the Kenya Red Cross (KRC) is launching the third phase of its Back to Rhythm Campaign.
The campaign initiated in 2017 is an education drive that has been creating public awareness around cardiac health in Kenya and increasing the chances of survival of victims of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).
This year, the campaign will happen in Eldoret Town, home of marathon athlete’s training. The first of its kind, the spotlight will be on athletes, a group that puts their hearts under a different type of strain.
Further, the introduction of the Heart of Champions Challenge, a 314km cycling trial from Nairobi to Eldoret will be spearheaded by David Kinja, Kenya’s renown cyclist.
2,000 athletes, 1,000 from Nairobi, and 1,000 from Eldoret will receive cardiac screening.
The 2019 World Heart Day theme, ‘Heart Heroes’ urges everyone to take care of their hearts as it relates to heart disease and overall cardiac health.
“Based on the startling statistics, it is vital for us to educate the public about risk factors while reinforcing the need for a healthy lifestyle as a core component to overall heart health,” said Jasper Westerink, Philips Africa CEO.
A person’s best chance of survival in the case of SCA is to receive a defibrillator shock within five minutes of collapse. Access to an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is central to saving lives.
An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a lightweight, portable device that delivers an electric shock through the chest to the heart.
The shock can potentially stop an irregular heartbeat and allow a normal rhythm to resume following sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).
The Philips Foundation, therefore, donated 17 AEDs to the Kenya Red Cross. The AEDs have been strategically placed in ambulances located throughout Nairobi, Narok, and Meru.
The Kenya Red Cross has already attended to 88 cases of sudden cardiac arrest between 2017-2019.
“We are also dedicated to sharing life-saving capabilities by empowering the public to identify warning signs and symptoms as well as teaching the skill to respond to an instance if SCA because we know that it can strike at any time, and the chances of survival decrease dramatically with every passing minute,” said Westerink.
Statistics from the Kenya Cardiac Society indicate that of the 30% non-communicable diseases which kill Kenyans, 12% of them are heart-related.
“Heart Health through prevention and early response is a common purpose that we’ve worked towards over the past two years and as the campaign progresses, we believe we are collectively getting closer to bringing Kenyans heartbeat back to rhythm,” added the deputy Secretary-General of KRC Dr Asha Mohammed.