PUBLIC TALK: Rheumatic Heart Disease: A Case Study
A public lecture by Dr Mark Engel, Associate Professor, Medicine, University of Cape Town and 2019 UWA Institute of Advanced Studies Visiting Fellow.
Elimination of Rheumatic Heart Disease in Africa is a continental priority, given the great morbidity and mortality associated with the disease in most low- and middle-income countries. It is a classic example of a disease that, despite the presence of effective primary and secondary prevention, treatment and rehabilitation methods with successful eradication in high-income countries, continues to wreak a heavy toll on many societies. We recognise that many important determinants of RHD lie outside the health sector, and thus include social determinants in addition to access to primary and tertiary health care resources.
The ASAP Programme (raise Awareness, establish Surveillance systems, Advocate for increased resources for treatment, and to promote Prevention strategies) was launched as a comprehensive approach to tackling RHD on the African continent. Employing a multi-pronged approach, the programme emphasizes the importance of awareness-raising, surveillance, advocacy and prevention programmes being incorporated in research endeavours. Having been instrumental in the programme from its inception in South Africa, Dr Engel will report on the programme’s progress from population screening to genome-wide association studies involving 6000 participants from seven countries in Africa. The lessons learnt serve as an illuminating guide for initiating studies responsive to the health needs and the priorities of the population or community in which it is to be carried out, especially in a resource-constrained environment.
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