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Health officials collaborate to prevent and control rheumatic fever

Health officials collaborate to prevent and control rheumatic fever

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Rheumatic fever in children in St Vincent and the Grenadines is a major public health concern, prompting the Ministry of Health to collaborate with the Trinity School of Medicines to craft a National Programme for the Prevention and Control of Rheumatic Fever and Rheumatic Heart Disease.{{more}}

Rheumatic fever is an inflammatory disease that can develop as a complication of inadequately treated strep throat. Strep throat is caused by infection with group A streptococcus bacteria.

The Ministry of Health’s programme aims to reduce the incidence of rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease among children in SVG, thereby achieving a reduction in morbidity, mortality, and medical and surgical costs related to this disease.

It will be implemented throughout our public health and education system, with a view for full integration into the Primary Health Care system, Luis de Shong, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Health, said in a release.

The objectives are to:

1. Develop a broad, encompassing educational program for the prevention of Rheumatic Fever and Rheumatic Heart Disease.

2. Establish a national registry of all patients with Rheumatic Fever and Rheumatic Heart Disease.

3. Establish a central clinic for patients with suspected and proven Rheumatic Fever and Rheumatic Heart Disease.

4. Establish a National Advisory Committee to oversee 1, 2 and 3 above and ensure the success and continuity of the National Program.

5. Build a national public health capacity to treat patients with Rheumatic Fever and Rheumatic Heart Disease.

A broad range of professionals within the national health sector, as well as officials from the Trinity School of Medicine attended the first meeting in this regard on Thursday at the conference room of the Ministry of Health.

Rheumatic fever is most common in 5- to 15-year-old children, though it can develop in younger children and adults.

Rheumatic fever can cause permanent damage to the heart, including damaged heart valves and heart failure. Treatments can reduce tissue damage from inflammation, lessen pain and other symptoms, and prevent the recurrence of rheumatic fever.

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