Last year, the Kenya Cardiac Society (KCS) launched the “Meet your Heart Doctor” campaign with the support of the World Heart Federation through the World Heart Grant Programme. The initiative aimed to connect health professionals with people living with cardiovascular disease (CVD) across the country through local and national radio stations, as well as existing patient support groups. The specific objectives of this campaign were:
- To increase awareness of heart diseases and the link between COVID-19 and CVD.
- To educate PLWCVDs and their caregivers on what they should do to manage their condition and prevent COVID-19 infection.
- To build up the capacity in order for KCS to interact more effectively with PLWCVDs and develop a strategy for meaningful engagement with this population.
KCS partnered with local English, Kiswahili and Vernacular radio stations to record and broadcast live a series of shows which featured people living with CVD, cardiologists, and physicians working on various cardiovascular-related fields. Besides increasing awareness and education, the project also aimed at training 21 media houses in Makueni county on different non-communicable disease (NCDs) topics, including CVD.
Moreover, KCS organized four webinars in collaboration with patient-led organizations and support groups from the Kenya Mended Heart Patients Association (KMHPA), Stroke Association of Kenya (SAoK) and Renal Patients Society of Kenya. Fifty-one people living with NCDs or their caregivers and seventy-nine health professionals took part in these virtual events and expressed their interest in participating in similar webinars in the future.
Following the success of this initiative, KCS will continue working closely with people living with CVD by:
- Organizing regular joint webinars to address topics of interest to their members with a focus on health days such as World Heart Day or World Hypertension Day.
- Increasing collaborations with patient groups to advocate for improved access to health services.
- Increasing awareness of the existence of patient groups so that more patients join and benefit from psychosocial support and joint advocacy.
- Involving PLWCVDs in KCS’s activities to ensure that the voice of the patients is taken into consideration.
Our grants of up to USD 2,000, available to WHF Members, are used to fund organizational capacity-building projects and World Heart Day initiatives.