Dubai: The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) signed a memorandum of understanding with the American Heart Association (AHA) to launch a CPR training program to make the city one of the safest in the world in terms of response time to cardiac arrests. This is aimed at saving the lives of people who experience a sudden caridiac problem outside of the hospital and who require immediate first aid for resuscitation.
Currently, the global average survival rate for patients with sudden cardiac arrest outside of hospital is between 5-10%. Every minute after a heart attack is crucial and medical help should reach the patient ideally within four minutes. This project aims to increase the survival rate for sudden cardiac arrest in Dubai and aims to break the global benchmark and achieve a 65% survival rate. As part of this program, more than 23,000 volunteers have been trained in the administration of life-saving CPR and approximately 10,000 cardiac defibrillators have been launched in many public places in the city.
The DHA, in collaboration with the AHA, has already initiated the preparation and construction of the training program which will consist of three phases. The first will be to train several people in on-site CPR when they encounter a person with cardiac arrest in a public place such as a shopping mall, bus stop, etc. The second phase will launch several external defibrillators in various public places that can be accessed and people will be trained to provide a defibrillator electric current to revive a patient before the ambulance arrives. The third phase will involve launching a smart app that people can download and it will display the nearest CPR trained professional and the nearest defibrillator so that a person in need can get immediate help and be resuscitated. with first aid before an ambulance arrives.
How will the program work?
The project will use smart technology and an app that residents can easily download. If a person experiences sudden cardiac arrest, they or their family can activate the emergency button on the app. Automatically, first responders, ambulance officials and nearby hospitals will be notified so that help reaches the person in under four minutes.
A strategic initiative
Dr Fahad Baslaib, consultant interventional cardiologist and CEO of Rashid Hospital, and Zehra Al Hilali, Regional Director Middle East and North Africa (Mena), American Heart Association, signed the MoU at DHA headquarters in Dubai. Dr Mohammad Al Redha, Director of Project Management Office, Health Informatics and Intelligent Health at DHA, Dr Wadeia Sharief, Director of Department of Medical Education and Research at DHA, Michael Hulley, Vice President international, American Heart Association, attended the signing ceremony.
Following the MoU, Dr Baslaib said the Dubai Heart Safest City project is one of the important strategic initiatives to protect the general health of individuals from one of the most serious health problems – l ‘cardiac arrest. He said DHA was implementing the project based on three main factors, the first being training as many volunteers as possible on how to administer CPR.
3,800 AED devices already supplied
The second focuses on the provision of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) in different areas of the city. A defibrillator delivers a dose of electrical current to the heart and purchases the patient’s survival time. Dr Al Redha said the initiative aims to provide 10,000 AED devices across Dubai and that DHA, in partnership with a number of government entities, has provided 3,800 devices so far.
Person trained in CPR and defibrillator
The third phase will include the launch of a smart app that will show the location of the nearest trained CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) professional and also the nearest defibrillator.
Dr Baslaib pointed out that there is a specialized committee that manages the initiative, which includes representatives from different government departments in Dubai, especially those departments that include volunteers.
Dr Al Redha also added that DHA, together with a number of organizations, has so far trained 23,000 volunteers in CPR. He said that as part of the MoU, the American Heart Association has prepared a one-of-a-kind training program to support the Dubai Heart Safest City project. Volunteers who complete the training program will receive a certificate approved by the Association.
Committed to saving lives
Commenting on the MoU, Michael Hulley, International Vice President of the American Heart Association, said: “Over ten years ago, the American Heart Association launched a concerted effort to fight cardiovascular disease in the world, providing technical support, scientific exchange and training to governments, healthcare providers, prehospital hospitals and systems, workplaces and communities. This new program is the culmination of years of collaboration. It represents all of the people whose lives have been or will be saved and improved through the work of the American Heart Association with our partners in Dubai.
Zehra Al Hilali, Mena Regional Director, American Heart Association, said, “Our mission guides everything we do. From heart disease, to stroke, to cardiac arrest. All of them are issues that the American Heart Association is committed to solving. In Dubai alone, our affiliate training network trained approximately 23,000 people in CPR last year, in addition to numerous community and awareness campaigns. Excellent heart care should be the norm for everyone. By working together we can create more scalable, sustainable and impactful solutions, she said.