Ministry of Health launches 3rd phase of Heart Experts Programme

Youssef Mohammed Al Serkal: The Ministry has several national programmes that serve the national indicators of cardiovascular diseases

The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP) has announced the third phase completion of its initiative, ‘Heart Experts,’ programme, selecting, training and empowering a group of students to serve as awareness ambassadors for cardiovascular health in their schools, neighborhood and local community.

The pilot phase of the programme was completed at the Al Mawakeb School in Al Barsha, targeting 21 students aged 15-17 years.

The Hear Experts initiative falls under the umbrella of the Operational Plan Initiatives to achieve the National Indicators for the reduction of mortality due to cardiovascular disease.

The programme goals fulfillment

H.E. Dr. Youssef Mohammed Al Serkal, Assistant Undersecretary for the Hospitals Sector, MOHAP and Chairman of the Executive Committee of National Indicators of Cardiovascular Diseases and Cancer, said the third phase of the Hear Experts programme has achieved by training school students on how to promote heart-healthy lifestyles and identifying the local and global magnitude of cardiovascular disease.

The programme also introduced educational principles that contribute to changing negative behaviors and practices and was concluded by a short- and long-term plan for spreading the concepts and changing the environment, guided by the program teams from MoHAP, Al Serkal said

Promoting cardiovascular health practices inside educational institutions

The Heart Experts initiative aims to create a cardiovascular health friendly environment inside educational institutions, and build communication bridges with society (family and residential neighborhoods), promote cardiovascular health practices and highlight the UAE vision and efforts being made to address cardiovascular diseases, the top leading cause of death in country, Al Serkal added.

He further said the programme comes in line with the Ministry’s strategy to provide comprehensive and integrated healthcare services using innovative and sustainable methods, protect the community against diseases and help bring about the UAE Vision 2021.

Dr. Al-Serkal pointed out that the Ministry has several national programmes that serve the national indicators of cardiovascular diseases, including the Critical Congenital Heart Disease, CCHD, screening programme for all newborns, which uses artificial intelligence techniques. A total of 5877 students have been diagnosed since the launches of the programme in Aguste 2018 with a compliance rate of 98.5%.

Other programmes include the ‘safe hearts’, which targets students in the primary stages and provide early detection services for cardiac-related risk factors. All of these initiatives aim to promote a supportive environment for cardiovascular health in schools.

Develop short-long term plans to spread concepts and change the environment

Dr. Mona Al Kuwari, Director of the Specialised Healthcare Department, said the Heart Experts third phase provided students with training on basic principles of cardiovascular health, the success keys towards building physical and personal self through healthy lifestyles and how to implement psycho-education principles and methods in order to change unhealthy habits.

A team of students has set a short and long-term plan to spread concepts and change the surrounding environment, guided by the instructions and support of the Ministry’s team. The final stage included honoring the participating students and endorsing them as a reference for their peers in other educational institutions, she added.

In the first phase, the Ministry of Health and Prevention selected a group of students possessing key communication skills and charisma to attend an introductory workshop educating them about national Indicators and objectives and requirements of the cardiology programme.

The second phase included training on basic principles of cardiovascular health and the method of setting interactive goals to effect positive change in healthy lifestyles in the environment and rapid response steps in heart and brain crises.

 The last phase featured training on activities that promote cardiovascular health by age group and accompanying physical and social needs, which concludes with a short- and long-term plan for spreading the concepts and changing the environment, guided by the program teams from MOHAP.

The Heart Experts programme is linked to the ‘safe hearts’ programme, which targets students in the primary stages and provide early detection services for cardiac-related risk factors. All of these initiatives aim to promote a supportive environment for cardiovascular health in schools. Some 550 students were diagnosed as part of the pilot phase at the same school.

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