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Rheumatic Heart Disease Australia

Northern Territory RHD Control Program

Acute rheumatic fever is a notifiable condition in the Northern Territory.

What we do

The Northern Territory RHD Control Program aims to reduce the recurrences of acute rheumatic fever (ARF) and reduce the burden of rheumatic heart disease (RHD) amongst the people of the Northern Territory. The objectives of the program are to:

  • implement and expansion/maintenance of a dedicated state wide patient register and recall system for ARF and RHD;
  • collection and provision of data for national monitoring and reporting of ARF and RHD and measuring program effectiveness in the detection and management of ARF and RHD.
  • improved clinical care including improved delivery of and adherence to secondary prophylaxis antibiotics;
  • provision of education and training for health care providers, individuals, families and communities; and
  • collection and provision of data for national monitoring and reporting of ARF and RHD and measuring program effectiveness in the detection and management of ARF and RHD.

The RHD team meets this challenge by working closely with people touched by this disease, their families and people from their community, through education, training, support of community members and health staff.

The Northern Territory (NT) RHD Control Program works across the NT in five regions, Darwin (Top End), East Arnhem District , Katherine District, Barkly District and Alice Springs region. The program is based in the Centre for Disease Control in Darwin with clinical staff and register administrators based in Darwin and Alice Springs. Clinical staff travel regularly to remote areas of the NT to work with individual services and clinics. The NT RHD Control Program also works closely with other health departments in South Australia, Queensland and Western Australia in recognition of the patient mobility across state and territory borders.

Who we work with

The NT RHD Control Program collaborates with acute care facilities (including regional hospitals) and clinicians directly responsible for patient care. The program is embedded in the Government primary health care system in the Northern Territory and works closely with regional and remote Indigenous health services. Other reciprocal relationships to support and improve patient care exist with oral health, cardiac and paediatric outreach services.

The program works with and supports services by providing:

  • Education to health staff, primarily in-service
  • Advice and support to clients and family members in conjunction with staff
  • A telephone support service
  • Tailored reports from the RHD Register

The NT RHD Control Program promotes a continuous quality improvement approach with health services working with them to improve practice using a dedicated clinical audit tool for RHD/ARF.

Territory legislation and notification

ARF and RHD are notifiable conditions in the Northern Territory. Medical practitioners have a legal duty to provide particular information on a patient when they become aware that the patient has, or is being treated for, ARF and/or RHD. For further details go to the Department of Health website or contact the NT RHD Control Program.

All cases of ARF and RHD should be reported to the NT RHD Control Program to be recorded on the register to ensure appropriate care and follow up can be provided to the patient. Clinicians and support staff directly involved in the care and coordination of patients with ARF/RHD should apply for access to the register.

Access application form here »

Data Protection

The release of ARF and RHD data by the NT RHD Control Program is governed by processes which protect the privacy and confidentiality of individuals. Queries should be directed to NT RHD Control Program Manager.

Clinical Protocols

The Australian guideline for prevention, diagnosis and management of acute rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease is the main source to guide all aspects of ARF and RHD control. Clinicians should also refer to the NT CARPA Standard Treatment Manual 6th edition. These are the endorsed clinical guidelines for use in primary health care settings in the NT.


Access resources developed for the NT RHD Control Program »


Top End Region

T: (08) 8922 8454
F: (08) 8922 8277

Central Australia Region

T: (08) 8951 6909
F: (08) 8951 7900


RHD Programs

Western Australia