Health professionals and medical students in Broome share an evening of information, discussion and new perspectives on RHD.
The tropical town of Broome recently had a visit from leading paediatrician and infectious diseases specialist Professor Jonathan Carapetis.
Sponsored by Medicare Local Kimberley and Pilbara, the evening information session saw over fifty health professionals and medical students share knowledge and perspectives on rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease.
RHDAustralia supported the meeting by sending two nurses working in Kununurra (East Kimberley) to the event, with presentations from a number of individuals, including doctors working in the Kimberley Population Health Unit, who provide Kimberley epidemiology, and Dr Pip Chidgzey, who delivered a short presentation on ARF agent and host factors.
RHDAustralia’s Deputy Director Claire Boardman was also in attendance, discussing the significance of ARF/RHD on Aboriginal people in Australia and the important role of primary health care.
Claire outlined the overall aim of RHDAustralia - to reduce death and disability from ARF/RHD in Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and offered several methods that RHD Australia are focusing on to achieve this goal. Pointing out the additional educational resources available online from RHDAustralia, which include a downloadable smart phone app, Claire also drew attention to new additions to the RHDAustralia team; a Database Liaison Officer, an Education Officer and Communications and Marketing Officer.
Professor Carapetis, the highly respected and former Director of the Menzies School of Health Research in Darwin, provided great insight into RHD, discussing the global burden of ARF/RHD and touched upon work in the area that is currently in progress. This includes; community randomised control trials (RCT) of strategies to improve adherence to secondary prophylaxis, investigations into the genetics of RHD, screening for RHD, immunology of ARF, skin disease control and the NZ-Australia ARF Vaccine Initiative.
With conversation continuing well into the evening, both the WA RHD control team and Medicare Local were delighted with the attendance and the ensuing positive response to the evening.