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Rheumatic Heart Disease World Congress Abu Dhabi

22 November 2023

In November CEO Georgina Byron and Medical Advisor and Brenton Um from the Garvin Institute attended the World Heart Federation Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) World Congress in Abu Dhabi, with 450+ people across 52 countries.

RHD affects 40 million people worldwide, taking 400,000 lives each year globally, and Australia’s Indigenous communities, have some of the highest rates.

In the ‘Snow’ symposium, we shared our collaborative support to eliminate RHD, in particular the Deadly Heart Trek and Champions4Change, please see the flyer here.

Key take-outs

  • Australia’s work in RHD is highly regarded with global leading researchers, scientists, doctors – the people we work with have excellent global reputations and are well recognised.
  • Snow’s work and it’s focus on community is considered excellent.  Our support to communities is seen as hugely beneficial as was our education/awareness/advocacy work. This was noted by global leaders and a number commented that we should continue our focus on action on the ground.
  • The vaccine was a big focus at the Congress, and it is especially important for low income countries as the disease is so wide-spread. The accelerated progress in the last 5-10 years in the vaccine was acknowledged however, it still has a long way to go, and they are encouraging more vaccine candidates.
  • Dawn Casey CEO of NACCHO – key Indigenous Australian leader advocated for a greater focus on social determinants of the disease – housing and hygiene as that will save lives now and be a sustainable achievement. If we just do the vaccine, nothing changes in the community – poor hygiene, no running water, inadequate housing etc
  • There are interesting developments in penicillin and discussions around giving patients a menu for treatment could be a game-changer, including enabling patients to receive less frequent vaccines with less pain and to enable self-administration.
  • Australia’s RHD profile is not listed or noted on a global stage due to: 1) our Indigenous communities make up such a small part of our population, but in fact when we look at just Indigenous communities, we have the highest rates in the World. 2) we are a high income developed country

Full event programme found here