On World Heart Day 2021, the Rwanda Heart Foundation joined the world to raise awareness about CVDs and their risk factors through the project titled “Family engagement in awareness and prevention of CVDs”. This project aimed to mobilize family members for the prevention and control of CVDs, by encouraging family members to do physical activities on regular basis, eat healthy food and avoid the use of alcohol and tobacco. The projects engaged media representatives and journalists from countrywide media houses, nutritionists, sports professionals, CVDs advocates and experts, university students engaged in the fight against CVDs, People Living with CVDs (PLWCVD) and role model family representatives. The project was developed through the support of the World Heart Grants programme, from July 2021 until December 2021. The project was distinguished by the implementation of the following activities:
Project stakeholders’ engagement workshop
The main workshop take-home message was to mobilize the citizens to fight against CVDs at the family level by eating healthy food, initiating a sports culture, avoiding smoking and alcohol, and doing regular blood pressure checkups for all family members at home.
Youth engagement and CVDs capacity building
In partnership with the Rwanda NCD Alliance, the Rwanda Heart Foundation conducted two days of training on NCDs, CVDs and Nutrition for young students at two campuses of the University of Rwanda. Sessions on NCDs and CVDs risk factors and prevention measures, nutrition, and healthy eating were covered, and all participants were trained on how to measure blood pressure appropriately.
CVDs Media campaign and testimonies sharing
After the stakeholders’ engagement workshop, the journalists and people from civil society organizations who attended the workshop conducted a media campaign where they designed infographics, posters, and articles to publish on their respective media platforms. Others engaged and hosted People Living with CVDs and the selected role model family to share experience on CVDs prevention. CVDs advocates and experts were invited to media houses to educate the general public about the role of each family member in the journey of fighting CVDs. They also provided a message on the consequences brought by CVDs to the families due to ceaseless out-of-pocket payments for healthcare, which impact the family economy.
CVDs Community awareness campaign
Trained university student groups conducted CVDs awareness campaigns in community gatherings and secondary schools. During the campaign, they organized free of charge screening for CVDs and other NCDs risk factors and they educated people and distributed information materials on CVDs and NCDs.
- A total of 100 people on Huye Car Free day and 152 people on Nyagatare Car Free Day screened for NCDs and received their results and health education on a healthy lifestyle.
- A total of 1,234 secondary school students were reached in 5 secondary schools and received education on NCDs, the current and future CVDs burden impact on families and the country’s economy.