Paediatric Rheumatic Heart Disease - 22 June 2021 at 12.30pm (AEST)
The focus of this web conference is on Rheumatic Heart Disease RHD
RHD is a preventable condition caused by an abnormal immune response to Strep A infection in childhood. Almost all of the young people living with RHD in Australia are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The cause of RHD is rooted in the social determinants of health. Poverty, overcrowding and inequality drive transmission of Strep A infections of the skin and throat. Inadequate access to appropriate medical care means these common childhood infections often go untreated, leaving susceptible people vulnerable to acute rheumatic fever (ARF). (Closing the Gap – Refresh(link is external))
Rheumatic heart disease (RHD) could provide a critical, tangible target for achieving gains in Indigenous life expectancy. RHD is the leading cause of cardiovascular inequality between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
Vicki Wade is a senior Noongar woman with over 40 years of experience in health at state and national levels and is the Senior Cultural Advisor RHD Australia.
Vicki will explain how the Champions4Change program(link is external) which is a culturally safe support program for people living with acute rheumatic fever (ARF) and rheumatic heart disease (RHD) in Australia.
Importantly the program aims to inspire others to take charge and make a difference, care for others with ARF and RHD and share ideas and stories especially those with the lived experience.
In a country like Australia, rheumatic heart disease shouldn’t exist. Yet it does – taking lives, and causing disability to some of our most vulnerable.
Erin Ferguson is the Paediatric Rheumatic Heart Disease Clinical Nurse Consultant based at Cairns Hospital. She is employed under the Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander RHD Action Plan. She works in collaboration with the Paediatric Cardiologist providing care coordination and education for families as inpatients, outpatients and on outreach. The goal is to ensure that every child with ARF/ RHD receives the same level of care coordination regardless of their geographical location. Erin has helped establish new models of care including an RHD transition clinic and a multidisciplinary RHD clinic. She runs a nurse led clinic working with children who have had previous traumatic experiences with their Bicillin injections.
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