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Heart Awareness Month

What is Heart Awareness Month?

Celebrated annually in September, this month is dedicated to raising awareness about cardiovascular disease in South Africa and culminates on World Heart Day on the 29th of September. Heart Awareness Month has long been a platform for raising awareness about heart disease and highlighting the importance of a healthy lifestyle and appropriate treatment. 

Heart disease affects South Africans here and now

Heart disease and strokes are the second biggest killer in South Africa, after HIV/AIDS. Once thought to be a disease of the elderly, heart disease now affects people of working age, with more than half of deaths occurring in people under the age of 65 years. Our lifestyles are largely to blame for this growing problem - we eat too much, smoke and drink too much and are not keeping active. Our children are particularly vulnerable and influenced by our unhealthy environments, and are at risk for heart disease from a young age. We have to ask ourselves, have our own homes become those unhealthy environments? Here are some of the shocking statistics in South Africa:

  • South Africa has one of the highest rates of high blood pressure worldwide: 1 in 3 adults
  • High blood pressure is a silent killer - 75% of people with high blood pressure don’t even know they have it
  • 1 in 5 children in South Africa smoke
  • 1 in 2 adults and a quarter of children in South Africa are overweight
  • 210 people die from heart disease every day
  • 80% of these premature deaths can be prevented by eating better, moving more, and avoiding smoking

What is Heart Month 2016 about?

It's all about Smart Little Hearts


Congenital heart disease (CHD) is the most common birth defect worldwide! One in every hundred babies will have a heart defect. 10% of them will not reach their first birthday. Any heart defect present at birth is called congenital heart disease.

This year the HSFSA is advocating for better equipped maternity units with pulse-oximeters and training of health care personnel to screen every new born baby for heart disease. The HSFSA aims to improve these children’s lives by better equipping health facilities where children will spend many hours namely paediatric cardiac care units.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation SA wish to create a warm and loving environment for these children. There are 7 paediatric cardiac care units in South Africa that desperately need to be upgraded and refurbished for kids who need a lot of love in partnership with the Paediatric Cardiac Society of South Africa* (PCCSA)

We urge corporate companies to sponsor in the way of volunteers, monetary donations, or accommodating a wish list of necessities for the areas in need of refurbishing.

What can YOU do about it?

 Donate in September. SMS the word “Smart” to 38502 to donate R10 for smart little hearts. Funds raised will be used to refurbish paediatric cardiac units around the country - because our children deserve a safe, warm and comforting environment to be treated and tested in when faced with this lifelong disease.

Speak up. If you are pregnant, ask for a pulse-oximetry test before you take your new born baby home. It’s the best care for your baby.  By asking for it you become part of the solution.

Get tested...Get your own heart health tested for free at Dischem pharmacies in September. By doing so, the Dischem Foundation, MNI Lifestyle and Patient Focus will donate towards our smart little hearts campaign.

*About the Paediatric Cardiac Society of South Africa

The Paediatric Cardiac Society of South Africa is a professional association of paediatric cardiologists and cardiac surgeons with our major objective being to improve the quality of care for children with congenital and acquired heart disease.