a civil society alliance for combatting chronic disease in the caribbean

Healthy Caribbean Coalition - Heart Foundation of Jamaica Launches Public Access Defibrillation Programme

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009 - CONCERNED about the increasing number of persons dying from heart-related problems in Jamaica, the Heart Foundation of Jamaica (HFJ) yesterday launched its public access defibrillation programme, intended to increase the use of automated external defibrillator (AED) in public locations.

HFJ Public Defibrillation
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation instructors from the Heart Foundation of Jamaica (L-R) Marco Bromfield, Quisha Stewart Street and Wayne Henry demonstrate the use of the automated external defibrillator at yesterday's launch of the public access defibrillation programme held at the Altamont Court Hotel in Kingston. (Photo: Lionel Rookwood)

Speaking at yesterday's launch at the Altamont Court Hotel in Kingston, HFJ chairman Dr Edward Chung said that the move to make AED's more accessible is in keeping with the health sector's mandate to save lives.

"We do know that heart disease is the number one killer in the world. We also recognise that it is the number one killer in Jamaica. So, if you look at that, you would see that the programme has a lot of validity for a lot of our population," he said.

The AED is a small, electronic portable device which can be used to resuscitate an individual experiencing sudden cardiac arrest. If used within three to five minutes after the attack, it can help to save the individual's life.

The talking device, which can be purchased at the HFJ for US$1,950, works by electrically shocking patients suffering from sudden cardiac arrest, so that the heart will be able to re-establish a normal and effective rhythm.

Because of the potential danger it poses to bystanders, Dr Chung advised that only trained emergency care personnel should operate the machines.

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