• To increase the amount of preventive treatment given to people with Acute Rheumatic Fever (ARF) and Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD).
  • To test whether a model of care designed to optimise health systems and community resources improves adherence to secondary prophylaxis for RHD. 

As health professionals working in Indigenous communities well know, Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) is a major cause of morbidity. The most beneficial and cost effective way to prevent the development of the disease is through regular antibiotic injections (benzathine penicillin G (BPG)) after an initial bout of rheumatic fever, referred to as secondary prophylaxis (SP).

Currently there’s limited evidence of how to ensure that all ARF/RHD patients receive their regular SP antibiotic injections. The research team will work closely with the Northern Territory RHD control program, clinic staff and other stakeholders to maximise efforts to deliver SP. This three and a half year project will involve approximately 12 remote health clinics in the Northern Territory (NT), and if successful, the package could be implemented across remote health centres in Australia.

Implications for policy and practice:

A successful model of care delivery for ARF/RHD prevention could have widespread applications in the NT and elsewhere in Australasia. 

Chief Investigators:
  • Jonathan Carapetis, Telethon Institute (ex Menzies)
  • Associate Professor Graeme Maguire, Baker IDI
  • Professor Ross Bailie, Menzies
  • Professor Bart Currie, Menzies
  • Adrienne Kirby, Sydney Medical School NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre
  • Dr Vanessa Johnston, RDH
  • Dr Keith Edwards, Department of Health
  • Dr Anna Ralph, Menzies
Project Manager:
Contact information:
Project dates:

The project will run for three and a half years, commencing in 2012.

  • National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).
  • Telethon Institute for Child Health Research
  • Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute
  • Northern Territory Department of Health
  • University of Sydney.