Tribute to a heart specialist


The late Dr Sambhi (left) with Nestlé (Malaysia)’s Aranols at Nestlé Omega Plus’ Walk-A-Mile in 2020.

A PARTNER in vision and for over two decades, Nestlé Omega Plus has been working closely with Yayasan Jantung Malaysia (YJM) to raise awareness on the importance of heart health and on the issues affecting the disease.

Under the leadership of the late Datuk Dr Jagjit Singh Sambhi (1931 - 2021), YJM has been a long-standing partner of Nestlé Omega Plus’ Walk-A-Mile initiative since the inaugural walk was launched 20 years ago.

“We are saddened about the passing of our close friend and long-standing partner, the late Dr Sambhi,” said Nestlé (Malaysia) Bhd chief executive officer Juan Aranols.

“His unyielding pursuit in steering heart health awareness across Malaysia and the legacy he leaves behind will be woven into the very fabric of Nestlé Omega Plus Walk-A-Mile.

“Under his guidance, YJM has been instrumental in driving the initiative across Malaysia. Nestlé Malaysia is eternally grateful for his endless support and is honoured to have walked this journey with him,” he said.

Under Dr Sambhi’s leadership, YJM unlocked many achievements in the heart health sector. Under Dr Sambhi’s leadership, YJM unlocked many achievements in the heart health sector.

It started with a prediction

As Malaysia was gearing towards becoming a developed nation, Dr Sambhi predicted Malaysians would fall victim to 'first world” diseases.

Therefore in 1982, while serving as president for the Kuala Lumpur Rotary Club, he mooted the idea of a heart foundation. Yayasan Jantung Malaysia (YJM) was officially conceived and registered as a society in 1984.

Under his leadership, YJM unlocked many achievements in the heart health sector, such as leading nationwide heart education initiatives and preventive programmes to raise awareness of preventive measures to combat cardiovascular diseases.

As a patient advocate who understands the importance of quality of life and support from loved ones, Dr Sambhi understood that hotels in Kuala Lumpur were expensive and out-of-town families from low-income households were unable to afford lodging, while their loved ones were undergoing heart treatments.

This spurred Datuk Dr Sambhi to start a halfway house in 1998, as a means of accommodation for patients and their families who have been referred to hospitals in Kuala Lumpur.

Today, YJM is at the forefront of championing heart health across Malaysia.

Starting off as an awareness walkathon with 500 participants in 2000, Walk-A-Mile has now grown to a nationwide event with tens of thousands of Malaysians.Starting off as an awareness walkathon with 500 participants in 2000, Walk-A-Mile has now grown to a nationwide event with tens of thousands of Malaysians.

A national heart health hero

“He genuinely cared about people and believed that cultivating an environment to enable people on the right lifestyle path was one of the best ways to prevent heart diseases,” said YJM vice chairman Datuk Gurbakhash Singh.

“That was one of the reasons why he believed programmes like Nestlé Omega Plus Walk-A-Mile were a way of showing people that heart health is as easy to achieve with a little effort and that staying healthy is not difficult with the right nutrition and support,” he added.

What started off as an awareness walkathon with 500 participants in 2000 has now grown to a nationwide event with tens of thousands of Malaysians from all walks of life, coming together annually to walk for their heart health.

Nestlé (Malaysia) shared that the late Dr Sambhi once said, “God has given us a heart that we might live a full and fruitful life in this world. Let us cherish our only heart and see that it continues to function without abuse so we may live and not exist. To live is meaningful. To exist is meaningless.”

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