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Rheumatic Heart Disease Australia

RHD Resouces

Latest news from the RHD Secondary Prophylaxis Study

Welcome to the sixth newsletter from the Improving Secondary Prophylaxis (SP) for Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) research project. In this latest quarterly newsletter the Secondary Prophylaxis team shares stories from participating health centres: What works in their community, how they are improving their processes for RHD care, and how the project is supporting them.

As health professionals working in Indigenous communities well know, rheumatic heart disease is a major cause of morbidity. The most beneficial and cost effective way to prevent the development of the disease is through regular antibiotic injections (benzathine penicillin G) after an initial bout of acute rheumatic fever (ARF), referred to as secondary prophylaxis.

Currently there’s limited evidence of how to ensure that all ARF/RHD patients receive their regular SP antibiotic injections. The research team has worked closely with the Northern Territory RHD control program, clinic staff and other stakeholders to maximise efforts to deliver SP. This three and a half year project involves 10 remote health clinics in the Northern Territory, and if successful, the package could be implemented across health centres in Australia.