Rheumatic heart disease in focus

The "Heart to Heart" Rheumatic Fever Awareness campaign will run this month. Picture: SUPPLIED

MORE than 50 new cases of rheumatic heart disease have been identified in primary school students within the Suva area alone.

This was highlighted in a statement by the Cure Kids Fiji rheumatic heart disease (RHD) program.

The “Heart to Heart” Rheumatic Fever Awareness campaign will run this month, which aims to raise awareness on the signs of rheumatic fever and encourage parents and carers of school-aged children to seek help when needed.

Public health adviser Dr Sainimere Boladuadua said parents should pay extra attention to their child’s health.

“If your child complains of a sore throat followed by sore or swollen joints, we recommend that you seek medical advice. This could be a sign of rheumatic heart fever which may eventually lead to damage to the valves of their heart. You could be protecting your child from getting very sick in the future. You could save their life,” Dr Boladuadua said.

The campaign will be led by people living with and affected by RHD.

“The RHD Prevention and Control Program encourages parents and carers to ‘think rheumatic heart fever’ and seek medical advice when needed.

If the disease in a child is picked up early enough and they are placed on treatment they have a chance of going on to live a normal and productive life,” the statement said.

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