Philips East Africa Limited in collaboration with the Kenya Red Cross is launching to raise awareness on cardiac health in Kenya in commemoration of Heart Awareness Month and World Heart Day.
The firm aims to raise awareness on good heart health by promoting exercise, lifestyle changes and funding the provision of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) to public spaces in Kenya.
The campaign christened “Back to Rhythm” is aimed at increasing the chances of survival of victims of heart attacks.
Residents are expected to participate in the event’s 10 minute Heart Challenge cycling event from Wednesday to Thursday.
For every 152 kilometers covered, Philips will provide one AED to the Kenya Red Cross, which will in turn identify public places where they will be put.
Through crowd participation in the challenge, Philips commits to provide 10 AEDs to the Kenya Red Cross.
Statistics from the Kenya Cardiac Society indicate that non-communicable diseases account for 30 per cent of deaths in Kenya with 12 per cent of these being cardiac diseases.
“High fat and sugar diets, rapid economic growth, long office hours, lack of exercise and urbanisation are responsible for the increase in cardiovascular disease across Africa including Kenya.
“While social and governmental steps are being made to reduce some of the factors causing heart disease, the reality is that the average Kenyan is at risk of contracting coronary heart disease,” said Jasper Westerink, the Philips Africa CEO.
Mr Westerink says the campaign is intended to educate the public on cardiac health especially sudden heart attack and how to recognise the symptoms and save the lives of others should it occur.
Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart’s electrical system becomes chaotic, causing it to stop beating effectively.
Deprived of proper blood flow, the person becomes unresponsive and stops breathing normally.
What many don’t know is that cardio pulmonary resuscitation commonly known as CPR alone cannot help in the case of a sudden cardiac arrest since it cannot restore a normal heart rhythm.
A shock from a defibrillator is the most effective way to restore the heart’s normal pumping rhythm.
According to Mr Westerink, a person’s best chance of survival is to receive a defibrillator shock within five minutes of collapse with chances of survival reduces by 10 per cent every minutes more after the incident.
“After 10 minutes, few attempts at resuscitation will normally be successful. A defibrillator will not save every person who experiences heart attack, but more lives could be saved if those affected were reached more quickly. A quick response makes a real difference,” he said.
Over 100 Boda Boda riders, who are often the first point of response and have become integral in emergency situations in the city of Nairobi, will be trained to assist victims.
Mr Westerink sees the training as ultimately giving them the confidence to lead the way in saving lives.
“This includes providing training on the use of AEDs and basic life support CPR classes to the general public and first responders including boda boda riders,” he said.