As you know I have written about the impact of strokes in my family recently – so I was interested to hear about a global campaign called ‘1 Mission 1 Million – Getting to the Heart of Stroke’ which aims to raise awareness of atrial fibrillation. The campaign is empowering the public to decide which projects will receive a share of €1,000,000 in funds.
In Ireland the Irish Heart Foundation is participating in the campaign and you can read below an interview I did with Sarah Horgan, Advocacy Programme Officer about the importance of your vote in this campaign – please note you can vote each day!
Each project is committed to taking action against stroke related to atrial fibrillation. Public vote will decide which of the 32 projects will receive an award of €10,000, €50,000 or €100,000.One in four people aged 40 years or older develop atrial fibrillation,1 the most common heart rhythm abnormality. It causes the heart to beat too fast, too slow or with an irregular rhythm, which increases the chance of stroke.
DON’T FORGET: It’s not too late to enjoy discounted tickets for the Exploding media Conference on 9-10 May 2011 – and if you book through the details mentioned here you will also be supporting the Irish Heart Foundation.
Krishna: What is the background to the campaign – why is the pharma company supporting it?
Sarah: The Irish Heart Foundation has been successful in reaching the voting stages of a global initiative 1 Mission 1 Million run by Boehringer Ingelheim to highlight the dangers of Atrial Fibrillation – a significant contributor to the cause of stroke. €1 million is available to fund community-driven projects that take action against atrial fibrillation-related stroke by contributing to this goal.
As an awareness campaign, 1 Mission 1 Million focuses on education and is not intended to support projects that focus on treatment.
Boehringer Ingelheim is a global pharmaceutical company, this is part of their corporate social responsibility programme to raise awareness to atrial fibrillation.
Krishna: Why did you decide to participate?
Sarah: Atrial fibrillation (AF) causes an irregular heart-beat. This can cause blood to clot. A blood clot can enter your bloodstream and get stuck in a blood vessel supplying your brain. This blockage may then cause a stroke to occur.
People with AF are five times more likely to suffer a stroke than people who do not have the condition and the strokes from AF tend to me more severe leading to greater mortality and disability. The Irish Heart Foundation is currently running a Stroke Action campaign, a four year campaign that is being mounted to tackle a frightening lack of public awareness about stroke – Ireland’s third biggest killer.
Just as elsewhere in Europe, the detection and management of AF in Ireland is very poor and the management of AF offers a real opportunity to reduce the number of people having strokes. Our charity has achieved enormous success with the roll-out of our national FAST TV campaign on stroke symptoms.
In January of this year, a survey showed that thanks to our FAST TV ads, two top A&E departments in Dublin reported a 59% increase in the number of people receiving thrombolysis on time. To build on our success and Stroke Action, we want to bring an awareness campaign to the public on atrial fibrillation.
Krishna: What are some stats both globally and in Ireland relating to the disease and how does it impact people?
Sarah: Up to three million people worldwide have a stroke related to atrial fibrillation every year – that is one person every 12 seconds. According to the Cardiovascular Health Policy (department of health) 1% of the population have AF.
70 first-ever strokes in Ireland could be avoided in one year if 10% of patients with AF were adequately treated with warfarin (anticoagulation therapy). This would increase to 350 where warfarin treatment is available to 50% of AF patients.
An estimated 40 to 200 secondary strokes could be averted in Ireland where treatment with warfarin covers 10 to 50 % of AF patients who have already had a stroke.
So up to 550 strokes a year could be prevented through this campaign.
Krishna: What will you use the funds for?
Sarah:We are proposing a complete awareness campaign utilising PR, radio, online (including social media) advertising, patient and medic-focused information and awareness raising events. A nationwide campaign such as this would require a fund of at least €100,000.All elements of the campaign would be strongly branded “The Truth about A Fib” from the Irish Heart Foundation.
The campaign would include:
- Radio advertising – run ads to generate awareness of AF and advertise our nurse-led Heart and Stroke Helpline as being available for people wanting to discuss AF.
- Creation of a dedicated AF section on our Stroke.ie website (Ireland’s leading website for information on stroke).
- Mail communication to all GPs nationwide.
- IHF reps would also meet with 1,000 general practitioner doctors across the country to discuss AF and the use of the Cardiovascular Guidelines and our Stroke Council’s National Clinical Guidelines and Recommendations for the Care of People with Stroke and Transient Ischaemic Attacks for detection and treatment of AF.
- Increase the resources of Heart and Stroke Helpline to assist members of the public with their concerns about AF.
- Further develop our patient information in AF and stroke. This currently comprises our booklets, AF and You and Stroke – a guide for those affected by stroke and their carers, as well as 4 online (and soon to be published) leaflets and 5 factsheets.
- PR and media work throughout the 6 months and World Stroke Day. Exploit existing IHF communications including our monthly Stroke ezine; our campaign network; our Strokelink magazine; and www.stroke.ie.
Krishna: How will a decision be made about who wins?
Sarah: The proposals have been selected by an expert group and have now been launched to the public for a vote off.
In addition to the public vote, the panel will select a number of projects that deserve special recognition.
These winning projects will be called “Expert Picks” and will be announced at the end of the public voting process. The proposals with the most votes win funding for their project.
Krishna: What difference could it make to your work and people in Ireland if the Irish Heart Foundation won this award?
Sarah: There is the potential for a campaign in Ireland to save lives and save the State money. Up to 550 strokes a year could be prevented through this awareness campaign and improved treatment and management of AF.
Currently, many people with AF in Ireland go untreated. We believe that greater awareness of AF in Ireland would greatly increase the number of people who will seek help for their condition, significantly reducing their risk of stroke.
Krishna: What do people need to do to help you with your entry?
Sarah: We are asking you and your readers to support the Irish Heart Foundation by voting online for our atrial fibrillation project.
Simply follow the link below and VOTE. https://www.heartofstroke.com/truthaboutafibinireland
Krishna: Where can people go to on your site to find out more about the condition?
Krishna: What Twitter hashtag will you use to build awareness about the campaign?
Sarah: We would love people to share and talk about the campaign using the hash tag #100K4Stroke – and please don’t forget to vote!
And you can follow the Irish Heart Foundation stroke Action camapign on Twitter @StrokeAction.
Krishna: Thanks so much Sarah for giving us a sense of the programme and why the public vote for your submission would make such a difference to people in Ireland.
Remember to caste your vote each day at https://www.heartofstroke.com/truthaboutafibinirelan