Phase 1 of the campaign had been running since early March 2019, in communities across Cape Town and Johannesburg. Residents of both cities were encouraged to get active by participating in stationary biking challenges. Over 2,000 South Africans participated, each cycling for 10-minutes and a combined total of 8,393 kilometers, securing 25 automated external defibrillators (AEDs) that the Philips Foundation had pledged to the HSFSA. The HSFSA will now place the AEDs in public spaces around the country to equip the members of the public with lifesaving capabilities in case of a Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA).
“I can only look back to this achievement with complete pride. It is very rewarding to be a part of an experience where organisations come together to achieve meaningful purpose and impact. I am extremely proud of the fact that we reached such a milestone in South Africa, especially considering that we also set a Guinness World Record in Egypt last year.” says Jasper Westerink, CEO, Philips Africa.
“We are committed to our goal of creating healthier communities by 2030, and with the support of the Philips Foundation, our Back to Rhythm campaign has elevated this vision. Moving forward, I can’t wait to see how we can collectively build on this momentum to drive bigger conversations and sustainable action around the need to prioritise heart health as a nation,” says Westerink
“We have a critical role to play as an organisation in ensuring that South Africans are educated and informed about heart health. This understanding influenced our decision to get involved and collaborate with Philips on the Back to the Rhythm campaign,” says Professor Pamela Naidoo, CEO of the HSFSA. “The 25 AEDs that the Philips Foundation will provide us will equip citizens with lifesaving technology in public spaces and I cannot be more appreciative of the same. This campaign has played a critical role in reinforcing good habits, like getting active and eating balanced meals, aimed to firstly prevent future incidence of heart disease, and secondly to educate South Africans on how to save a life in the unfortunate event that preventative measures were not effective often due to over-riding genetic factors.”
“When Philips approached me to take on the challenge to attempt a Guinness World Record to raise awareness on heart health, it really hit home as I lost my father to a cardiovascular disease. I am proud to have represented such a powerful campaign and hope that South Africans continue to see the importance of healthy living even beyond this campaign and World Health Day,” says Kevin Benkenstein, one of the team members who set the record.
“Raising awareness on the growing incidence of CVD; especially SCA and reinforcing the need for a healthy lifestyle and healthy diet are core components of the Back to Rhythm campaign, which will continue with several different informative and educative programmes in the coming months. To successfully drive down future incidences of heart disease, we hope to see these conversations and training sessions bring about sustainable lifestyle changes in local communities; empowering South Africans to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives.” concludes Westerink.