Last Updated on 2 years by Publishing Team

30th September 2022

Cure Kids Fiji Marches for World Heart Day

Led by people with rheumatic heart disease (RHD) and the Fiji Navy Band, over 200 people including Chief Surgeon for Ministry of Health & Medical Services Dr Josese Turagava, Cure Kids Fiji staff, families, partners and supporters from near and far marched for World Heart Day today.

The goal; raise awareness for RHD in Fiji.

RHD is the leading disease-related cause of death for young people in Fiji. Since 2014, Cure Kids, with the donor support of the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade, has partnered with Fiji’s Ministry of Health & Medical Services (MHMS) on the RHD Prevention & Control Programme.

“Statistically one child in every classroom in Fiji could have rheumatic heart disease,” says Community Organization Manager Erini Tokarua. “As a leading disease-related cause of death for children in Fiji between 5 and 29 years, RHD is a problem that needs urgent attention and proactive, long-term action to protect our children.”

RHD is a chronic, yet preventable non-communicable disease. It starts with a sore throat or skin sores from streptococcus bacteria which can lead to acute rheumatic fever (ARF) which causes joint pains, fever, and skin rashes. Rheumatic fever can then lead to heart damage which is called rheumatic heart disease. If left uncontrolled RHD can lead to health complications, and even result in death.

“RHD is affecting the lives of too many of our young people,” said Dr Turagava. “I encourage everyone especially parents and carers of school-aged children to watch for the symptoms and seek care when needed.”

Ms Tokarua said it is vital we all learn to be proactive about our health. “If you are sick if you have a sore throat or skin sores; seek medical attention. If left uncontrolled it could lead to rheumatic fever or rheumatic heart disease.”

“It’s also important to make healthy dietary choices, practice hand washing, brush your teeth, and keep your environment clean – these things will all help us lower the risk of getting sick in the first place”.

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