The RHD Endgame Strategy: The Blueprint to Eliminate Rheumatic Heart Disease in Australia by 2031
In 2014, The End Rheumatic Heart Disease Centre of Research Excellence (END RHD CRE) was established at Telethon Kids Institite to address the urgent need for a comprehensive, evidence-based plan to eliminate rheumatic heart disease across Australia.
Bringing together leading experts from 16 institutions across Australia and backed by a grant from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), the END RHD CRE synthesised the collective experience of communities, clinicians, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations, and government and non-government organisations – as well as more than 25 years of research – to tackle this need head on.
The result is The RHD Endgame Strategy: The blueprint to eliminate rheumatic heart disease in Australia by 2031. Outlining the best existing evidence-based strategies to prevent new cases of RHD in Australia and improve the lives of those already living with the disease, The RHD Endgame Strategy was launched in September 2020 and can be viewed here.
Finding a vaccine
While treatments for patients are improving, it is far better to stop the disease from occurring in the first place. Researchers at the Telethon Kids Institute have been collaborating with others from a range of national and international institutions to develop a vaccine to protect against group A strep infections.
Another research program is developing a reformulation of penicillin that is less painful and more appropriate for those who require treatment and protection for rheumatic fever and RHD, with the aim of increasing the number of patients being successfully managed.
Living with RHD
There is also more focus on talking to people affected by RHD to understand the experience of living with the disease. This will guide the development of more appropriate prevention and management strategies.