HEALTH ADVISOR: Heart disease coalition

A NEW seven-partner coalition has been formed to tackle rheumatic heart disease (RHD).

RHD is a third-world disease generally associated with overcrowded slums, as it’s triggered by a simple bacterial throat infection that runs riot in the body if left unchecked, but Australia has an alarmingly high rate in indigenous communities.

Head of the End RHD coalition, and Telethon Kids director Jonathon Carapetis says one in 43 indigenous people living in remote areas have RHD.

“This country has the largest disparity in cardiovascular disease outcomes in the world and it is simply unacceptable,” says Prof Carpetis. “We need new solutions to prevent and treat the infections that lead to ARF and RHD, and to reduce suffering and death from RHD itself, but we will only be treading water if we don’t also address the key social determinants of the disease.”

The coalition will link its researchers with health workers, families and organisations on the front line.

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