Students appointed as awareness ambassadors in Dubai
The Ministry of Health and Prevention, MoHAP, has announced the second phase and completion of its initiative, 'Heart Experts,' which designates a select group of students to serve as awareness ambassadors for cardiovascular health in their schools, neighbourhood and local community.
The programme was launched in an experimental stage last May at the Al Mawakeb School in Al Barsha. Under the programme, students serving as ambassadors for the initiative help organise events and consultations aimed at promoting a supportive environment for cardiovascular health.
The training agenda includes knowing about your heart's health, risk factors and how today's younger generation can play a key role in promoting cardiovascular health across schools, local neighborhoods and communities.
The essential trainings under the programme were provided by medical professionals that included a consultant peadiatric cardiologist and peadiatrician from Al Qasimi Hospital for Obstetrics and Gynecology and Peadiatrics; a trainer from MoHAP's Training and Development Centre and a trainer from the Dubai Corporation for Ambulance Services.
Dr. Youssef Mohammed Al Serkal, Assistant Under-Secretary for the Hospitals Sector, at the Ministry of Health and Prevention and Chairman of the Executive Committee of National Indicators of Cardiovascular Diseases and Cancer, explained that the programme falls under the umbrella of the Operational Plan Initiatives to achieve the National Indicators for the reduction of mortality due to cardiovascular disease.
The 'Heart Experts' initiative falls in line with the Ministry's strategy to provide comprehensive and integrated health care in innovative and sustainable ways to ensure the prevention of disease, complementing the vision of UAE 2021 to implement a health system based on international standards.
Dr. Mona Al Kuwari, Director of the Specialised Healthcare Department and Deputy Chair of the executive committee on the relevant national KPI, shared that the programme targets students aged 15-17 years of age. The programme covers three phases. The first phase covered the selection of 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 includes 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 will cover 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 programme teams from the ministry.
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, and 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.