Rheumatic heart disease (RHD) starts with a Strep A infection of the throat or skin. If untreated, the infection can lead to acute rheumatic fever (ARF) which can feature sore joints, fever and heart inflammation. While the other symptoms of ARF go away the heart damage can remain, and this is known as RHD. If not managed properly, it can cause heart failure, disability or death.   

In developed nations around the world, economic development, improved living conditions and access to health care have all but eliminated RHD. But in Australia, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people continue to live with one of the highest burdens of RHD in the world.

RHD is a preventable disease, click here to help us end RHD.

In response to this urgent and unacceptable situation, critical work is being done by RHDAustralia at Menzies School of Health Research to help end RHD in Australia, including the Champions4Change program. 

RHDAustralia’s Champions4Change is a culturally responsive and safe Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander led program, designed and delivered by and for those with the lived experience of Acute Rheumatic Fever (ARF) and/or Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD). The Champions4Change program brings together people living with RHD and their communities to raise awareness about ARF and RHD and how they can be prevented. 

For a deeper understanding of the issues surrounding RHD, here's a link to the recent Four Corners episode which exposes the realities of RHD in Australia.