Malaysians Unite to Combat the Nation’s Number One Killer of the Past Three Decades.
For the third consecutive year, The Heart exhibition opened its doors to all Malaysians with the hope that our community will lead a healthier lifestyle and combat cardiovascular diseases. From 27 to 28 September 2014, the exhibition which was held at the Mid Valley Exhibition Center, welcomed over 50000 visitors. As Malaysia’s largest heart health exhibition, the event aims to educate the Malaysian public and act as a significant wake-up call to all Malaysians to start taking care of their hearts and prevent heart diseases.
The official launch for The Heart exhibition was held during the first day of the event. Present at the launch was Deputy Director of Disease Control, Dr. Zainal Ariffin Omar who was representing Malaysia’s health minister, Datuk Seri Dr. S. Subramaniam. The launch was also graced by the Chairman and Founder of Yayasan Jantung Malaysia (YJM) Datuk Dr. J.S. Sambhi and President of the National Heart Association of Malaysia (NHAM), Dato’ Dr. Rosli Mohd Ali.
Cardiovascular disease is not an issue that should be taken lightly. In fact, one in four Malaysians have been diagnosed with some form of heart disease. Dr. Zainal, who read Datuk Seri Dr. S. Subramaniam’s official speech, said that hospitals under the Ministry of Health recognise cardiovascular diseases as the leading cause of death among individuals below the age of 60. He shared that this added up to approximately 35 percent of deaths in hospitals under the Ministry of Health and that 8000 new heart patients are recorded, annually.
Datuk Dr. J.S. Sambhi who also gave a speech during the launch, said that after years of strategies and campaigns intitiated by YJM to combat cardiovascular diseases in Malaysia, the organisation has realised that a better way to improve heart health among Malaysians is to focus on prevention. Hence today, YJM’s initiatives revolve around educating the public on effective methods to prevent cardiovascular diseases.
Datuk Dr. J.S. Sambhi highlighted that, “Malaysia has earned the dubious honour of having the highest obesity rate in South East Asia. We have garnered another disparaging label, the 10th laziest country in the world in terms of physical inactivity. These are certainly not flattering nor encouraging statistics!”
With the aim of preventing heart diseases, a series of comic books were also launched during the exhibition. Published by the National Heart Association of Malaysia, the comic books are designed for children. These colourful books are meant to nurture and educate the younger generation on leading a healthy lifestyle from a young age.
The launch of the Heart exhibition was followed by a series of fun and exciting stage activities. These included a cooking demonstration by Chef Florence Tan, lucky draws as well as educational health talks by medical experts.
There were also other activities held during the exhibition such as health checks whereby individuals were screened for risk factors related to heart conditions, Electrocardiogram (ECG) tests and also a 3-D giant heart structure which gave visitors a chance to know what it feels like to be a tiny microorganism travelling inside the human heart. The giant heart structure provided visitors a close up view about cardiovascular functions and damages caused by a heart attack.
Exhibitors in individual booth had also lined up fun activities for visitors. The Urban Health booth offered visitors a chance to take a unique photograph in the photo booth themed “What makes me happy?” Aside from that, a cup of complimentary coffee was given to visitors who dropped by.
The two-day event saw an overwhelming number of Malaysians learning about their heart and becoming more aware of deadly diseases related to this vital organ. There’s no doubt that the, event which is a joint initiative by YJM, NHAM, Women’s Heart Health Organisation (WH2O) and Institut Jantung Negara (IJN), has once again played a pivotal role in promoting a healthy lifestyle among Malaysians. Urban Health was one of the official media partners of this year’s The Heart exhibition.
By Edeline Ann Goh