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Odisha moved a step closer to minimising fatalities from heart attacks by the middle of this decade as Governor Prof. Ganeshi Lal inaugurated the Mass Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) Training Programme at KIIT University on the first day of this month.

Present on this august occasion were senior IRS officer Krishna Kishore Jasthi, currently posted as principal director of income tax (investigation), Odisha; Akshay Pani (IAS, ret’d), Convenor, Sri Sathya Sai Trust, Odisha; Dr Vemuri S Murthy, Global Resuscitation Expert and Advisor (CPR), Government of Odisha; and Dr Achyuta Samanta, Founder, KIIT & KISS.

Jasthi, a 1990-batch IRS officer who was recently promoted as Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, of the Central Board of Direct Taxes, Ministry of Finance, has been the moving spirit behind this programme, which is part of a joint initiative by Sri Jagannatha Service Foundation and Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organization to train at least 2,00,000 people in CPR across Odisha by the end of 2025. Just like this time around, he was also the coordinator of the mass CPR training programme that was inaugurated by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik at the Kalinga Stadium on February 2.

In the initial phase of the programme, which was conducted in association with KIIT, about 1,500 students of the deemed university received CPR training. Later, over the next 18 months, all students and staff of KIIT-KISS will be trained under this protocol. This move will enable the students of KISS to help their respective tribal communities based in remote areas across Odisha.

While addressing the gathering during the inauguration of the programme, Governor Lal said: “Nature has remedies for all types of ailments, but we are polluting and spreading toxicity around the world and affecting Mother Nature. This is also causing problems for human lives. We must be cautious on this count.’’

On the occasion, Samanta noted that present-day lifestyles were making an increasing number of people victims of such diseases as heart attack. In order to overcome this challenge, the noted educationist and philanthropist said, it is important to adopt a holistic approach towards life and bring about necessary changes in lifestyle. Lauding the CPR Training Programme of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organization, he expressed hope that it would save many lives across the state in the long run. “We will train all students and staff of KIIT-KISS on this and the students of KISS can also train people in their areas and thus help save more people,” the MP (Lok Sabha) from Kandhamal added.

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer disease in the world. Lakhs of people die due to heart-related ailments every year. Sudden cardiac arrest or sudden stoppage of the heart occurs mostly due to an underlying heart disease that leads to what we commonly refer to as a “Heart Attack”. Indians are especially vulnerable to heart diseases due to a variety of reasons such as high blood pressure, an unhealthy diet rich in fats and sugars, lack of exercise, tobacco abuse, stress and genetic variations.

Ninety percent of the victims die unless immediate emergency help is provided to them by someone nearby with immediate CPR with compressions on the chest and early use of an electronic gadget called AED, before Emergency Medical Services ambulance arrives.

CPR is a lifesaving technique, which helps save a life during cardiac arrest by helping blood circulation and restarting the heart through chest compressions, which help keep the blood flowing to vital organs, until the regular heartbeat returns.

It is internationally recognised that CPR plays a major role in saving lives within the first 4-5 minutes after cardiac arrest. Using an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) along with CPR would greatly enhance the chances of survival for heart attack victims.

Most speakers at the event pointed out that the knowledge relating to CPR technique and usage of AED can be easily passed on to anyone above 10 years of age, with minimal training and this could lead to saving many precious lives.

With the invaluable support of the Odisha government and full-hearted efforts of officers like Jasthi, this noble and ambitious mission is poised to script an exemplary success story for and from the state.

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