BY USA KOTO
Cure Kids Fiji has launched an awareness campaign on rheumatic heart disease in Fiji.
The "Heart to Heart" Rheumatic Fever Awareness Campaign is to run across the country the whole month.
Cure Kids Fiji said the campaign, under its Rheumatic Heart Diseases Programme, will be led by people living with and affected by the condition.
"If your child complains of a sore throat followed by sore or swollen joint, we recommend that you seek medical advice. This could be a sign of rheumatic heart fever which may eventually lead to damage to the valves of their heart," said Public health advisor, Dr Sainimere Boladuadua.
She urged parents and carers to pay extra attention to their child’s health.
"You could be protecting your child from getting very sick in the future. You could save their lives."
Rheumatic heart disease, or RHD is more common in Fiji than most people realize.
According to Cure Kids Fiji, more than 50 new cases have been identified among primary school students in the Suva area alone in just the past two months.
These are children that often appear healthy but have, in the past, had rheumatic heart fever which was left untreated.
Under its RHD Prevention and Control Programme, Cure Kids Fiji encourages parents and carers to ‘think rheumatic heart fever’ and seek medical advice when needed.
"If the disease in a child is picked up early enough and they are placed on treatment they have a chance of going on to live a normal and productive life," the organisation advised.
The New Zealand Partnerships for International Development Fund is a major contributor to the RHD Programme along with Cure Kids Fiji, Accor Hotels and the Fiji Water Foundation.