News center | Kenya

Mar 29, 2018

Do you have it in you to bike from Nairobi to Meru with MC Jesse?

  • Pedal it out to bring Kenyan’s heart beat back
  • The rising incidence of cardiac diseases in Kenya calls for public awareness to increase the survival rate
  • Phase II (two) of Philips’ Back to Rhythm campaign to include Nairobi and Meru

Nairobi, Kenya – Philips East Africa in collaboration with the Kenya Red Cross is launching phase II (two) of the Back to Rhythm campaign that was debuted in Nairobi in September 2017, to increase public awareness around cardiac health in Kenya and improving the chances of survival of victims of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA).


The campaign is geared at raising awareness of good heart health through public biking challenges aimed at motivating exercise and lifestyle changes which may culminate in Philips donating Automated External Defibrillators (AED’s) to the Kenya Red Cross for use in public spaces in Kenya.

The heart-breaking trail of destruction caused by non-communicable diseases (NCD) is something a lot of us are completely oblivious to. Until it impacts someone you know,

MC Jesse

Local artist and comedian

“Although we all know, on some level, the risks associated with being overweight, knowing someone that passed away as a result of cardiac vascular disease (CVD) and realising that it was probably preventable, really made the penny drop for me.”


MC Jesse is turning his personal experience into a calling to spearhead this conversation and inspire others to join the journey and hopefully in turn save lives.

The Philips Back to Rhythm campaign is intended to educate the public on cardiac health especially the SCA -  how to recognize the symptoms, and how to try and save the lives of others in the unfortunate event of a SCA to empowering Kenyans to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives.  


“We understand that healthcare doesn’t start at the point where diseases are treated, but rather starts in the home – in the kitchen, and in opting to take the stairs, rather than the lift – and we believe that combining an understanding of local needs, with the right partnerships, will see this youthful nation reap the rewards of a healthier population,” says Jasper Westerink, CEO, Philips Africa.


While social and governmental steps are being made to reduce some of the factors causing heart disease, the reality is that the average Kenyan is at risk of contracting heart disease. Philips’ Back to Rhythm campaign is intended to educate the public on cardiac health especially the SCA; how to recognise the symptoms, and how to save the lives of others in the unfortunate event of a SCA.


Phase II (two) of the campaign will again take the form of multiple stakeholder engagements to educate the public on CPR and AED resuscitation, and biking challenges that can result in the donation of Philips HeartStart automated external defibrillators (AEDs) to the Kenya Red Cross for use in public spaces in Kenya.

Tour de Meru

Tour de Meru

On Thursday, 5 April 2018, a big-hearted group called Friends of Meru will cycle from Nairobi to Meru - a total distance of 271.49km’s - with celebrity host, and Meru native, MC Jesse leading the peloton/ pack.

MC Jesse is spearheading the bike ride, and has committed to cycle the entire route from Nairobi to Meru; in return Philips will donate one AED to the Meru Red Cross on him completing the trip.


MC Jesse’s passion to empower his community, has inspired the Kenya Red Cross Team and Philips staff to join the challenge. The challenge is also open to public registration (, and the Friends of Meru will kick-off the challenge from the KICC COMESA Grounds in the morning of Thursday, 5 April 2018.


The cyclists are expected to make three (3) pit stops enroute to Meru - at Mwea, Embu and Chukka, where the Philips and Red Cross teams will jointly provide community education programs on CPR and AED resuscitation. The Friends of Meru invite the public to sign up for the two-day Tour de Meru challenge – either for the entire ride, or popping in at the pit stops.


Not only will participants have the opportunity to ride alongside MC Jesse, in support of his passion, but will receive training on SCA, CPR, AED resuscitation, as well as healthy eating and exercising.

10MinHeartChallenge to residents of Meru

To complement the Tour de Meru, the residents of Meru will also get the chance to participate in a #10MinHeartChallenge to secure three additional AED’s that will be donated to the Meru County Red Cross. The challenge is to pedal and achieve the required kilometers for Philips to provide up to a maximum of three (3) AED’s to the Meru County Red Cross.


The challenge will take place on Friday, 6 April 2018, at the Meru Polytechnic grounds, where residents of Meru are challenged to cycle 687km’s in 4 hours. The challenge will consist of three bikes – so each bike would need to complete 229km within 4 hours to claim one AED.


“While the need for ‘sick care’ will undoubtedly remain critical in the years ahead, I believe that a greater focus on the preventive aspects of care can assist in bringing down the amount of sick care required at local, regional and national levels,” says Westerink. “Driven by this belief, we are aiming to engage at least 1000 youth on the role of healthy eating and regular exercise to drive down future incidences of heart disease with the phase II (two) of the campaign.”


As part of this drive, the Red Cross and Philips teams will also demonstrate how to use the AEDs and perform CPR at the stationary bike challenge, to ensure they empower the community to save lives.


Cardiac Conversations

The Kenya Cardiac Society (KCS) indicate that NCDs account for 30% of the number of deaths in Kenya, 13.2% of these are cardiac diseases. This highlights the need for a far greater discussion around the state of cardiac health in Kenya.


Alongside the Tour de Meru challenge, KCS, HACK (Heart Attack Concern Kenya), Philips and other strategic stakeholders will come together to discuss long-term solutions to address the rising incidence of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) in Kenya; the changes required to improve cardiac health of citizens; and healthcare preparedness including positioning public access defibrillation.


But the serious conversation will not be limited to the closed group of influential stakeholders; following the completion of the Tour de Meru, comedian Daniel "Churchill" Ndambuki will put Kenya’s heartbeat under the spotlight on The Churchill Show. Churchill, MC Jesse, the Kenya Red Cross and Philips will explore healthy lifestyles and cardiac health in a real and relatable discussion for a special edition of the show that will be shot and broadcast from the Meru Polytechnic grounds on 6 April 2018.


Why ride for AEDS?

SCA occurs when the electrical system of the heart becomes chaotic, causing it to stop beating effectively. Lacking proper blood flow, the person becomes unresponsive and stops breathing normally. What many don’t know is that the CPR alone cannot help in the case of a SCA as it cannot restore a normal heart rhythm. A shock from a defibrillator is the most effective way to restore the heart’s normal pumping rhythm.

The Philips HeartStart defibrillators, that will be donated to the Kenya Red Cross, have a simple design, are portable and guide the user through the resuscitation process using a clear, calm voice and audible instructions that acts as a personal coach. The user of a Philips HeartStart defibrillator does not need to recognize or interpret heart rhythms, because the AED does so automatically, making the treatment option safe and easy to use, with minimal training, but improved outcomes.

mc jesse image

To read more about the first leg of the campaign, click here.

About Royal Philips

Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA) is a leading health technology company focused on improving people's health and enabling better outcomes across the health continuum from healthy living and prevention, to diagnosis, treatment and home care. Philips leverages advanced technology and deep clinical and consumer insights to deliver integrated solutions. Headquartered in the Netherlands, the company is a leader in diagnostic imaging, image-guided therapy, patient monitoring and health informatics, as well as in consumer health and home care. Philips' health technology portfolio generated 2017 sales of EUR 17.8 billion and employs approximately 74,000 employees with sales and services in more than 100 countries. News about Philips can be found at

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Radhika Choksey

Radhika Choksey

Head of Brand, Communications and Digital Philips Africa

Tel: +31  62525 9000

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