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Rheumatic Heart Disease Australia

RHD Resouces

In-language health messages speak to patients

After watching the acute rheumatic fever (ARF) ‘Important Health Message’ in his own language, Warlpiri, Jacob (aged 10), no longer fights when he is due for his regular benzathine penicillin G (BPG) injections. The ARF ‘Important Health Message’ video is a short film with key messages for communities and families about the impact and prevention of ARF. It is now available in eleven Indigenous languages.

Jacob was talking with Melissa Van Leeuwen, Clinical Nurse Consultant, during a telehealth session after his younger sister was also diagnosed with acute rheumatic fever. Jacob has heard this information before but this time was different. It was the first time Jacob had realised the consequence of not getting his injections. This is the power of in-language health messages.

Melissa said, “I love seeing how people come to understand about ARF and rheumatic heart disease (RHD) in their own languages. I’ve watched people start to nod and respond to different parts of the video. When asked prior to the video if they know anyone with ARF or RHD they often say no, but afterward many tell me they have family members and/or friends who have been affected by the disease.”

Melissa, a Clinical Nurse Consultant for the Northern Territory Rheumatic Heart Disease Control Program based in Alice Springs, uses the ‘Important Health Message’ video to help her clients understand the causes, symptoms and treatment of ARF and RHD.

Melissa gets lots of positive feedback from people hearing these messages in their own language.  Tanya, the mother of a six-year-old Melissa diagnosed with ARF, said, “Now I understand why my aunty is sick as well as my little girl”.  Often English is a second, third or even fourth language for Melissa’s patients. Terrin (aged 32) said, “I’m glad I could hear this in my language as English isn’t easy to understand”. And Terrance (aged 11) was very excited to hear the video in Warlpiri as the voice was his grandmother’s!

The Important Health Message video is available in English, Burarra, Anindilyakwa, Yolgnu Matha, Pitjantjatjara, Warlpiri, West Kimberley Kriol, Tiwi, Pintupi-Luritja, Murrinh Patha, Kunwinjku and Arrernte through the RHDAustralia resources database.

If you are unable to access the videos via YouTube and Vimeo please contact us at for a downloadable file. If you are interested in having the video translated into another language RHDAustralia can assist with the process of finding translators and adding the voice over to the video.