Heart Experts’ program to designate students as awareness ambassadors for cardiovascular health in schools and local communities Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The Ministry of Health and Prevention has announced the completion of the second phase of its initiative ‘Heart Experts’ that designates students as awareness ambassadors for cardiovascular health in their schools.

The programme, which also covers pupils’ neighbourhood, was launched in an experimental stage last May at the Al Mawakeb School in Al Barsha.

Students serving as ambassadors help organise events and consultations aimed at promoting a supportive environment for cardiovascular health.

The training agenda covered by the programme includes knowing about heart health, risk factors and how the younger generation can play a key role in promoting cardiovascular health.

The training was provided by medical professionals who included a consultant paediatric cardiologist and paediatrician from Al Qasimi Hospital for Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Paediatrics; a trainer from the ministry’s Training and Development Centre; and a trainer from the Dubai Corporation for Ambulance Services.

Dr Yousuf Mohammad Al Serkal, the ministry’s assistant undersecretary for the hospitals sector, and Chairman of the Executive Committee of National Indicators of Cardiovascular Diseases and Cancer, said 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.

Dr Mona Al Kuwari, director of the Specialised Healthcare Department and Deputy Chair of the executive committee on the relevant national KPI, said the programme targets students aged 15 to 17 years.

The programme covers three phases: the first phase covers 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 affect 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.

Dr Al Serkal said the ministry has several national programmes that serve the national indicators of cardiovascular diseases, including the Critical Congenital Heart Disease screening programme for all newborns.