Awareness campaign and online hub expected to significantly contribute towards Saudi Government’s efforts to increase life expectancy in the Kingdom

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: In line with the Saudi Vision 2030 and the Health Sector Transformation Program in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Johnson & Johnson Medical Saudi Arabia today signed a Memorandum of Understanding [MoU] with the Saudi Heart Rhythm Society [SHRS] to launch a public health campaign on improving heart health in the Kingdom.

The MoU was signed by Dr. Naeem Al Shoaibi, President of Saudi Heart Rhythm Society, and Mazen Takhah, Senior Director – GA&P Middle East and North Africa, Medical Devices and Consumer – Saudi Arabia, Johnson & Johnson, in the presence of Trad Al-khelaiwi, General Manager of Johnson & Johnson Medical Saudi Arabia, Doaa Abada, the company’s regional director

The two parties agreed on launching the ‘Get Smart About AFIB’ campaign  نظم نبضك.. احفظ قلبك  , in line with the joint efforts to improve care and treatment for patients with Atrial Fibrillation [AF] in the Kingdom. The campaign will help raise awareness and reduce the risks of cardiovascular diseases, which account for 37 per cent of all deaths in Saudi Arabia, as per Saudi Health Ministry’s statistics.

The agreement also aims to support the Kingdom’s initiatives in educating the local community about the Atrial Fibrillation condition, using a multi-layered approach to drive awareness, improving knowledge, and encouraging better detection of AFIB among patients and healthcare professionals alike, through the establishment of ‘Get Smart About AFIB’ – a Saudi-focused online hub dedicated to providing patient resources around the condition.

The online hub will provide helpful guides for patients along the journey, from advice around what to expect and how best to prepare for their first doctor visit to information that will help them understand available options to treat and manage their AFIB symptoms. Simultaneously, educational programmes and materials will also be made available to healthcare professionals, both primary care providers and cardiologists, to support their work in detecting and diagnosing AFIB that affects approximately 1% of the total population, especially the elderly.

Johnson & Johnson continues to lead the regional and global efforts in raising awareness on most common diseases, in line with its commitment to support the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals of ‘ensuring healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages’. The company is also committed to educate the Saudi population about heart diseases, in line with its mandate to spread awareness, providing access to care, and strengthening the communities in which it works. It strives to help improve the health and well-being of men, women, and children around the world, by ensuring 175 million individuals across the globe benefit from its solutions that prevent, control and eliminate global diseases.

Dr. Naeem Al Shoaibi, President of the Saudi Heart Rhythm Society and a consultant of Cardiology & Electrophysiology at King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, said: “The Saudi Heart Rhythm Society is pleased to collaborate with Johnson & Johnson Medical Saudi Arabia to educate patients and those responsible for patient care, in particular, and the society in general to understand Atrial Fibrillation, its chronic symptoms and the importance of dealing with it, as well as its diagnosis and the latest methods of treatment in the best ways for a new beginning and a better life.”

Dr. Al Shoaibi added: “Our partnership with Johnson & Johnson Medical Saudi Arabia presents an opportunity to collaborate with the private sector to significantly drive awareness around Atrial Fibrillation, which often remains undiagnosed and untreated, negatively impacting the quality of life for many patients and their families. It is a disorder in the heart rhythm that originates from the atria and causes irregular heart rhythms and often fast.”

Dr. Al Shoaibi concluded: “The symptoms of Atrial Fibrillation, include sensations of a fast, fluttering or pounding heartbeat (palpitations), chest pain, dizziness, fatigue, light-headedness, and reduced ability to exercise, shortness of breath and weakness. We look forward to educating and supporting the patients through the ‘Get Smart About AFIB’ awareness campaign and the online hub to be more informed about the best ways to receive better diagnosis and treatment to lead a healthier and happier life.”

Trad Al-khelaiwi, General Manager of Johnson & Johnson Medical Saudi Arabia, said: “In line with this, we are pleased to partner with Saudi Heart Rhythm Society to contribute towards increasing the heart health, and quality of life of Saudi citizens, which is a key step in supporting the Health Sector Transformation Program. The ‘Get Smart About AFIB’ awareness campaign and the launch of the online hub will provide an added value to the Saudi government’s efforts to increase the life expectancy of its citizens to 80 years by 2030.”

For his part, Mazen Takhah, Senior Director – GA&P Middle East and North Africa, Medical Devices and Consumer – Saudi Arabia, Johnson & Johnson, said: “Johnson & Johnson is committed to supporting public awareness on critical health diseases, including Atrial Fibrillation, in accordance with the national efforts to ensure a healthier population that can contribute to a stronger local economy. As part of this, the company collaborates with entities from the public and private sectors in KSA to help achieve the national Vision aiming at building a society in which all enjoy a good quality of life, a healthy lifestyle, and an attractive living environment.”

Atrial Fibrillation is the most common heart rhythm disorder or arrhythmia which reduces the heart’s efficiency and performance. While not life threatening, AFIB can lead to more serious conditions like blood clots and stroke if not treated early, causing increased morbidity and mortality. There are many factors that increase the risk of developing AFIB during different stages of life, including medical problems, such as diabetes or kidney disease, as well as heart disease.