DUBAI- A new health initiative has been launched in the UAE to help tackle cardiovascular disease, the world’s biggest single killer which accounted for a quarter of deaths in the Emirates in 2012.
Endorsed by Emirates Cardiac Society, the One Heart Health Community has been established to educate UAE residents about heart related illnesses, communicate the common risk factors, and drive home the importance of a healthy lifestyle.
Posing the question, “How many hearts do you have?” the awareness campaign will be kick started with a diabetes screening event at The Dubai Mall next Sunday (25 May). More than 80 nurses will be on hand to perform simple blood sugar level tests to determine the presence or risk of diabetes.
Mohamed Hammad, Founder and Managing Director at Benchmark Middle East FZ-LLC, the initiator of One Heart Health Community, said: “Our approach aims to educate people living in the UAE about the importance of a healthy lifestyle.
“While we are all encouraged to lead active, healthy lives the prevalence of heart-related illnesses in this country is astonishing and we want to show our family, friends and colleagues that simple steps can make huge differences.
According to the World Health Organisation, cardiovascular disease claims the lives of 17.1 million people every year. Reports have also found that diabetes is the leading cause of heart disease in the UAE.
People from all walks of life in the UAE are affected by cardiovascular disease, and Benchmark Middle East, a Dubai-based independent healthcare communication agency, hopes the One Heart Health Community will ultimately help save lives.
The first phase of the One Heart Health Community awareness drive will encourage residents to engage with the initiative through Facebook and a new mobile phone application, ‘Break-Up’, while the second phase will build awareness through blogs, Twitter and several other events for all heart disease risk factors.
The ‘Break-Up’ mobile app has been designed to help individuals track changes in their lifestyle such as exercising at home and limiting junk meal consumption. The app will help to motivate users, keep track of progress by family and friends’, and encourage them not to give up.
UAE residents are being encouraged to visit the Star Atrium at The Dubai Mall between 1pm-9pm for the diabetes screening on 25 May. A team of nurses and medical experts will be on hand to provide information and advice throughout.
“Through our launch event and online campaigns we are spreading the word to as many people as possible that heart disease can be prevented if positive changes are made in our daily lives,” said Mohamed Hammad. “At a time when cardiovascular diseases see more than 15,000 out-patients treated in Dubai alone, adopting healthier lifestyles has never been more important in the region.”
One Heart Health Community has partnered with Merck Serono Middle and Near East, a recognised biotechnology and pharmaceutical chemistry leader and the oldest pharmaceutical company with more than 300 years’ experience. The company aims to partner with the health care communities to create a greater awareness about health campaigns.