SEVEN nurses from the north, west and central divisions are part of a training program for rheumatic heart disease control.
The training which is a collaboration between the Ministry of Health and the Fiji Group A Streptococcal Project (Fiji GrASP) is run by researchers from Australia, led locally by Dr Joseph Kado who is the head paediatrician at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva.
Rheumatic heart disease is a serious disease that starts in a mild form in childhood and progresses to a life threatening condition in adolescence and early adulthood, Dr Kado said.
The nurses are being trained over an eight-week period to diagnose children with rheumatic heart disease by using a special ultrasound of the heart called echocardiography.
Dr Kado said rheumatic heart disease was a significant problem in Fiji.
If the disease is detected early in childhood, preventative medicine can be given, thereby avoiding worsening of the disease and the need for cardiac surgery later in life, he said.
The seven nurses selected for the project are being trained in echocardiography which will help them detect rheumatic heart disease at an early stage in children in Fiji.