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Rwanda Heart Foundation raises awareness on cardiovascular risk factors and the importance of heart disease prevention

The Rwanda Heart Foundation (RHF) launched an educational campaign to raise awareness on cardiovascular risk factors and the importance of heart disease prevention. The campaign, which took place in two phases, in the lead up of the World Heart Day 2019 celebration and over the next months, received the support of the World Heart Federation through the World Heart Grant Programme.

Phase 1 – Training of Volunteers

The first phase intended to build the capacity of volunteers involved in this project. RHF organized a one-day theoretical session on cardiovascular risk factors and the importance of heart disease prevention, followed by a practical session which gave the participants the opportunity to demonstrated how to measure blood pressure, blood sugar, height, weight, waist circumference and Body Mass Index (BMI).

The trainers explained also how CVD can have an impact not only on individuals, but also on their families and the entire community. They highlighted the role of health education, early detection and treatment of CVD, for the reduction of the burden of CVD in Rwanda and worldwide.

Phase 2 – Community education and media campaign

The second phase aimed at educating and spreading awareness of CVD prevention among the general population, starting with a social media campaign in the lead up to the World Heart Day 2019. The campaign was followed by a series of educational activities like screenings and public talks at Car Free Day (CFD) events, organized in different provinces across the country:
– Huye – 22nd September 2019;
– Kayonza – 29th September 2019;
– Musanze – 05th October 2019;
– Kigali – 06th October 2019;
– Nyagatare – 13th October 2019;
– Rubavu – 20th October 2019.

At each CFD event, participants were offered free check up including blood pressure, blood sugar, waist circumference, weight, height and BMI. After the screenings, participants were invited to get counseling to learn more about their results, as well as flyers inform themselves and their loved ones how to prevent CVD.

In parallel, the foundation organized a major public event under the 2019 WHD theme “Be a Heart Hero” to raise awareness on cardiovascular disease prevention.

Partnership

Media representatives collaborated with the RHF team throughout the entire campaign to amplify the organization’s efforts in informing the general public through online and written journals, TV and Radio shows.

Radio talk by Prof Mucumbitsi Joseph, President of the Rwanda Heart Foundation

Talk show by Prof Mucumbitsi Joseph, President of the Rwanda Heart Foundation

The Foundation worked closely with the Ministry of Health, the Rwanda Biomedical Center – the implementing agency of the Ministry of Health, Rwanda NCD Alliance (RNCDA) and other government representatives and partners to organize these series of activities.

Project outputs

  • Twelve volunteers were trained on cardiovascular risk factors and the importance of heart disease prevention, and had the opportunity to put into practice their knowledge
  • Two TV and two Radio talks were organized
  • Fifteen media outlets published interviews with CVD experts and articles about heart health issues
  • Public talks were organized during the six screening site
  • Six tweets were posted with the occasion of World Heart Day, which generated a major social media engagement
  • Two Facebook posts were released with the occasion of World Heart Day
  • Over 1,500 people were screened during the five screening sites and the WHD event
  • Educational materials were developed and distributed during screening sites