Ms Diana Mosca1
1Rheumatic Heart Disease Australia, Darwin, NT, Australia
This presentation will highlight some local health promotion activities that are contributing to the global goal of eliminating rheumatic heart disease (RHD). An estimated 32 million people live with RHD. Each year, about 275,000 develop the disease and that number again die from RHD. Approximately 80% of the global burden of RHD is seen in underdeveloped countries, yet Australia has some of the highest prevalence in the world.
The adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and the World Heart Federation goal of 25×25<25 (a 25% reduction in premature deaths from acute rheumatic fever (ARF) and RHD among individuals aged <25 years by 2025) validates local work.
Rheumatic heart disease follows ARF (often undiagnosed), which results from an auto-immune reaction to a streptococcal infection (often untreated). Repeated episodes of ARF can lead to more severe RHD. This is a disease of damage to the valves of the heart, leading to heart arrhythmias, stroke, bacterial endocarditis and premature death. Heart surgery to repair or replace damaged heart valves is commonplace.
Rheumatic heart disease is a dangerous condition for pregnant women and has a significant impact on child and maternal mortality. Consistent with SDG 3.1, two culturally-appropriate short films have been developed to educate young women and their families about important considerations for women with RHD who want to start a family.
Consistent with SDG 4, a language centre in a Top End Aboriginal community has created a program to educate children and the community about RHD. Community members used the complex concepts of RHD and developed their own story to be shared with children in their own languages, using lessons, activities and games.
We aim to inspire and motivate the audience to assess the possibilities for RHD prevention activities in their workplace.
Diana Mosca currently works as a nurse advisor for Rheumatic Heart Disease Australia. She qualified at Princess Margaret Hospital for Children in 1985, and in 30 years her career has taken her from paediatrics, to public health, and back again via perioperative nursing, projects and nursing education. She has worked most of her career in the NT and regional Queensland. She has a Masters in Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Graduate Certificates in Perioperative Nursing and Clinical Leadership, and a Cert IV Training and Assessment.