Milan, Italy — Philips Foundation, with a mission to provide access to quality healthcare for 100 million people a year in underserved communities by 2030, in collaboration with Philips Italy and the Italian Red Cross, announced today their commitment to provide AEDs and life-saving training to the island of Procida and the Aeolian Islands.
If performed immediately after cardiac arrest, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) can double to quadruple the chances of survival for the affected individuals. However, victims are often not promptly assisted with the appropriate tools and training by those witnessing these events.
In Italy, immediate assistance occurs in less than 30% of cases, compared to an EU average of 47% . This rate is even lower in places like the smaller islands, where on-site medical units and adequate defibrillators often don't exist. Infrastructural challenges and the terrain's morphology further hinder timely first-aid interventions. Moreover, these places experience a significant population increase during the summer due to seasonal tourists, which impacts healthcare quality and capacity.
The project emerged from the desire to support these communities. Jointly implemented by Philips Foundation, Philips Italy, and the Italian Red Cross, this project is dedicated to equipping the island of Procida and the Aeolian Islands with AEDs and CPR training.
The initiative's goal is to ensure both citizens and tourists have easy access to cardiac first aid, creating a cardio-protection ecosystem that combines Philips' technology with the expertise of the Italian Red Cross.
Breaking healthcare barriers: A study-driven approach in Procida
Given that Procida is the most densely populated island in Europe, its geographical barriers to health access become particularly significant. When considering that a large portion of its inhabitants are elderly – with an average of 212 individuals over the age of 65 for every 100 young people (up to 14 years old), compared to a national average of 182  – the need for cardio-protection systems and adequately trained personnel becomes paramount in ensuring the health and safety of its residents.
“Every year, over 65,000 people in Italy face the peril of cardiac arrest, and the heartbeat of many could be preserved with timely care. Amidst the serene beauty of places like the Aeolian Islands and Procida, the true challenge is not just the distance, but the timely reach of life-saving care,” Margot Cooijmans, Director of the Philips Foundation, emphasized. “Our commitment at Philips Foundation is to weave the threads of technology, training, and territorial understanding, ensuring every heart continues to beat strongly. Drawing from the perception of dedicated studies, we don't just bring technology, but a vision of sustainable cardiovascular healthcare that touches every life, especially in Europe's most underserved communities.”
As part of the project, AEDs will be set up at strategic locations on the islands. These locations have been identified with the assistance of regional 118 services and through a comprehensive research initiative focused on residential out-of-hospital cardiac arrests . The insights gained from this study are crucial as they provide a scientific and data-driven approach to improving health access and ensuring timely interventions in cardiac emergencies.