Red Cross, Phillips start awareness campaign on heart diseases

As the world celebrates World Heart Day this Friday, a majority of Kenyans are not aware of various cardiac complications and only generalise all of them as heart attack.
Statistics, for instance, from the Kenya Cardiac Society indicate that of the 30 per cent non-communicable diseases which kill Kenyans, 12 per cent of them are heart related.

Wednesday, Phillips, a health technology company, in collaboration with Kenya Red Cross, started an awareness campaign training people how to recognise the symptoms of a cardiac complication, provided first aid training and also gave out small automated equipment that can be used to resuscitate one who is under an attack.

“We have realised that lifestyle diseases are on the rise in the country and that’s why we are passionate about this, said Mr Jasper Westerink, the CEO of the company, who also added that, with this technology, lives can be saved.

The portable device called an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) has the ability to restart a heart once it fails.


“It is instant and easy to use and we know from statistics that if one is attended to within five minutes of cardiac arrest, they have a higher chance of recovery,” said Mr Westerink.

The campaign is being conducted on the premise that any Kenyan can cycle for 10 minutes on a stationary bike dubbed a “macrider”.

This then measures the number of kilometres that one can ride. For every 152 kilometres raced, Phillips will donate an AED. They intend to donate 10 machines.

Fourteen bikes were Wednesday placed outside Kenya National Archives attracting a continuous flow of Nairobians who participated.


At the venue, they were entertained by the music band Elani who released a new song where they used actual heartbeats from cardiologists to come up with the beats for the song.
The chief executive added that while the cost of treating heart conditions is very high, it can be lessened if victims are reached quickly for emergency services.

Dr Jeilan Mohammed, a cardiologist at the Aga Khan University Hospital, explained that cardiac conditions are not just only sudden heart attacks but also involve a range of conditions.

Kenya Red Cross CEO Abbas Gullet stressed the need for a change of lifestyle and especially engaging in more exercises.


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