New Zealand Mānuka Group is the primary sponsor for a life-saving initiative, organised by St John Opotiki, to make their Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) readily accessible at key locations across the East Cape.

Area Committee Chairman of St John in Opotiki, Pete Jackson, who is directing the placement of the AED’s confirms the support from New Zealand Mānuka Group was essential for completing this project.

“The support from New Zealand Mānuka Group means a lot as it has allowed us to get the boxes we need to protect these expensive medical devices so that we can put them in the locations where they are accessible and can be found easily.”

The AEDs are being placed at 20km intervals between Kutarere and Potaka, preferably in a local marae or other suitable public location.  Once in place, St John will be offering training to local people both in person and via a YouTube video.

Pete Jackson explains further, “Staff from our Opotiki office will be following up after the AEDs are in place to provide training.  The beauty of the AED is that anyone can use it as it will self-activate if it finds that the patient needs to have their heart kick started.”

Used specifically for cardiac arrhythmia, the Automated External Defibrillator is a life-saving medical device which can be used for any patient collapse.  If someone collapses then anyone on the scene at the time can put the AED on them.  The device monitors the person’s heart and if it decides a shock is required to save them then it will warn everyone nearby before activating the shock to the patient.

According to St John, more than 2,000 New Zealanders will suffer a cardiac arrest outside of hospital and 64% of these people will be relying on a bystander to perform CPR to save them.  Use of an AED within 3-5 min of collapse can increase the chance of survival by up to 40%.

It is unfortunate that cardiac arrhythmia is experienced by so many people, especially in our region.  However, we hope that with the placement, access to and knowledge of these life-saving devices in our local marae and public places across the East Cape region, we will see more people survive and make a full recovery.