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Making the ‘Billion Hearts Beating' campaign a movement

Special Correspondent

— Photo: K. Pichumani

Apollo Hospitals chairman Pratap Reddy takes a pledge along with schoolchildren during the ‘Billion Hearts Beating' campaign, at a press conference in Chennai on Saturday.

CHENNAI: On Saturday, all 54 Apollo Hospitals across the country were festooned in red — the colour of blood coursing through a healthy heart. All the employees were dressed in a splash of red as they held their right hand to their heart and took an oath to “have a healthy heart and a healthy family.”

With the intention of taking the ‘Billion Hearts Beating' campaign to a larger audience and making it a movement for a healthy heart, the Apollo Hospitals took the first step on its Founder's Day by getting all its employees to take the oath. As for Apollo Hospitals chairman Pratap Reddy, it was the best birthday gift he could have got.

While the campaign has been on for about a year now, Dr. Reddy said he felt the need for it to be more inclusive, with partners from health care, educational institutions, NGOs, corporates, and the media. Only such involvement from diverse segments of the society could create a groundswell of support for a movement that only wants the people of the country to live well.

According to the World Health Organisation, India has 60 per cent of the heart disease burden in the world. The coronary artery disease burden in India is expected to be 61 million by 2015.

That Indians are nearly four times more susceptible to heart attacks than Caucasians, and that it is killing people in their 30s and 40s, is a source of concern, Dr. Reddy said.

A joint report of the WHO and the World Economic Forum says India will incur an accumulated loss of $236 billion by 2015 due to unhealthy lifestyles and faulty diets. The resultant chronic diseases will severely affect the earning capacity of people, Dr. Reddy added.

The aim of the ‘Billion Hearts Beating' campaign is to spread awareness and spur action to significantly reduce the risk of heart disease, Shobana Khamineni, Executive Director of the Apollo Hospital Enterprises, said.

“This is a very important crusade for the hospital, and the media will play a huge role in taking the message out to the community,” she said.

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