RHD, you’ve probably heard the phrase but what is it?
Apunipima’s RHD Prevention Project focuses on the job at hand – addressing the link between personal/home hygiene and the disease.
RHD is an abbreviation for Rheumatic Heart Disease, a serious disease damaging hearts in our Cape York communities. RHD damages one or more of the valves in the heart. This occurs from repeated episodes of Acute Rheumatic Fever (ARF) which is an illness following an autoimmune response to a group a streptococcus or ‘strep A’ infection. Strep A is most commonly seen in the throat (strep throat) and skin (skin sores). As a result, a sore throat or skin sore, if untreated, can develop into chronic and sometimes fatal RHD. Although serious, RHD is 100% preventable and Apunipima’s RHD Prevention project is working to create awareness and decrease cases in the community.
The RHD Prevention Project focuses on addressing the link between personal/home hygiene, strep A and ARF/RHD. These determinants address the link between personal/home hygiene, strep A and ARF/RHD. Last year for example, we launched our ‘Home Care Packs’ in Napranum, Kowanyama and Aurukun to provide communities with accessible, affordable cleaning products to prevent the spread of strep A.
Over the next 6 months, the RHD project team will engage closely with community members in Napranum and Kowanyama. We plan to:
- Deliver education in schools and community centres
- Engage with staff through Apunipima’s Maternal Child Health training
- Roll out social marketing messages to increase awareness of RHD
- Support clinics to address RHD
If you would like to know more about RHD or the project, please contact the team: Anne Lechner- RHD Project Manager, Emily Turner- Health Promotion Officer, Helena De Bortoli- RHD Project Support Officer or, Gloria Wallis- Community Support Officer. Alternatively, RHD Australia have free e-learning modules which you can access https://www.rhdaustralia.org.au/e-learning-discussion-forum