Rheumatic heart disease concern

IT is believed one in every 50 children in Fiji has rheumatic heart disease (RhD) and this continues to be an issue for the Ministry of Health and Medical Services.

Public Health adviser of the Fiji RhD program under the Health Ministry, Dr Sainimere Boladuadua said there used to be little awareness provided on the issue, but the ministry was doing all it could to create awareness and educate the public to ensure their children were screened.

“We have about 4000 people with rheumatic heart disease in our database, but there is more walking around out there,” Dr Boladuadua said.

“The treatment of rheumatic heart disease takes a minimum of 10 years and that is to prevent them from other complications like heart failure or stroke.

“It is heartbreaking to see children coming to hospitals with heart failure and dying prematurely. The disease is preventable, but they’re killing too many of our kids at a young age.”

According to statistics earlier released by the Health Ministry, rheumatic heart disease claims 60 lives of school-aged children annually in Fiji.

“A study published in 2014 estimated the cost of RhD in Fiji for 2008 to 2012 at $F93m,” she said.

“Bulk of the costs was from productivity losses from premature mortality.”