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Addressing inequalities in NCDs: A focus on rheumatic heart disease

The Global Action Plan on Non-communicable Disease and the emergence of post-MDG global health agenda offer opportunities to examine RHD as an NCD of poverty and a sentinel of health inequality.  While nearly eliminated in wealthy populations, rheumatic heart disease still causes maternal mortality and kills or debilitates hundreds of thousands of children and youth in low-income settings. As they struggle to provide high-cost treatment for the disease in advanced stages, health systems in most low-income countries do not systematically implement low-cost measures of RHD prevention in primary care.

The New Zealand and South African governments, working with the World Heart Federation, organized a panel discussion, Addressing Inequalities in NCDs: A focus on rheumatic heart disease (view agenda). The side event brought together Member States attending the 66th World Health Assembly in a facilitated panel discussion led by Ministries of Health in RHD-endemic countries. Panelists discussed how best to reduce  the burden of RHD and help ensure that the global goal of reducing cardiovascular disease mortality 25% by 2025 can also be achieved for those under 25.


The WHO Perspective on RHD, Shanthi Mendis, Director a.i, Department of Management of Non-communicable Diseases, World Health Organization


View the presentations of:

RHD control in Fiji, Honourable Neil Sharma, Minister of Health, Republic of Fiji

New Zealand: Health equity and RHD, Mark Jacobs, Director of Public Health, Ministry of Health, New Zealand

Integrating RHD into Rwanda's national NCD plan, Jean-de-Dieu Ngirabega, Director General of Clinical Services, Ministery of Health, Rwanda

Article by Minister Agnes Binagwaho et all: Uniting to address paediatric heart disease in Africa: Advocacy from Rwanda

The Australian Government's Rheumatic Fever Strategy, Chris Baggoley, Chief Medical Officer for the Department of Health and Ageing, Australia


Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD): Neglected NCD of poverty (English)>

La Cardiopathie Rhumatismale: la maladie non transmissible négligée de la pauvreté (Français) >

World Heart Federation position statement:

Position statement paper of the World Heart Federation on the prevention and control of rheumatic heart disease (English)>

If you cannot access this link please click here >

Enoncé de position de la Fédération Mondiale du Coeur sur la prévention et le contrôle des cardiopathies rhumatismales (Français) >


On Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD): Global voices >

In the press:

BMJ : Doctors call for countries to step up the fight against rheumatic heart disease >
HeartBeat article: Anchoring rheumatic heart disease in the NCD agenda >