Take Heart films shown at Parliament House Canberra on October 23, 2018.
The Parliament House breakfast on rheumatic heart disease was held on Tuesday, 23 October hosted by The Snow Foundation and END RHD.
This was a landmark event where the community of Maningrida and medical experts from across the top-end directly addressed federal government to tell the story of their fight against rheumatic heart disease. It was a powerful message that really signals the beginning of the end of RHD and clearly stated our goal that no child born today should die of RHD.
- We heard from The Brown Family of Maningrida who have three sons with rheumatic heart disease. All three must receive painful penicillin shots every three weeks, on time, every time, until they are 21, to remain healthy and avoid open-heart surgery.
- We heard from several Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders and health professionals from Maningrida, Northern Territory where RHD rates are the highest in the world. They highlighted the social and medical efforts that they are leading as a community, to end rheumatic heart disease and described a community-led program of active case finding, education in traditional languages and trained Aboriginal health workers that is saving the lives of children in their community.
- Ms Pat Turner AM, Co-Chair of END RHD and CEO of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) highlighted the need and value of Aboriginal-led comprehensive and collaborative action to make sure this deadly, but preventable disease is eliminated so that children in remote communities are given the chance to reach their full potential.
- Dr Bo Remenyi, paediatric cardiologist and NT Australian of the Year, interviewed leading health officials and Maningrida community members to give a clear picture about the devastating toll rheumatic heart disease has on remote communities and the kinds of community-led activities helping to change the lives of local children.
- And we heard from one of the world’s leading rheumatic heart disease researchers, Professor Jonathan Carapetis AM, Co-Chair of END RHD and Director of the Telethon Kids Institute, who says a nonpartisan commitment is the next step needed to tackle the disease in Australia.
We are asking for a non-partisan commitment to eliminate rheumatic heart disease in Australia, an urgent budget allocation in the 2019 Commonwealth Budget, and contributions from jurisdictions with a high burden of disease to start a 20-year trajectory to end RHD in Australia. We will continue to support all efforts to END RHD for every community and to create collaborative and comprehensive action to ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are given the chance to reach their full potential by eliminating rheumatic heart disease.
This is a deadly, but preventable, disease. We eliminated rheumatic heart disease for non-Indigenous Australians, and we can eliminate it in Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander communities too. Tackling RHD is fundamental to help close the gap across Indigenous health.
With political commitment and investment, we can continue the positive momentum and make great progress—with this huge collaboration of partnerships united on the urgency for action— Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander national and local leaders, the END RHD alliance, medical and health professionals, community leaders and philanthropic groups.
Let’s make rheumatic heart disease everyone’s business and End RHD. Please keep up to date and take action with rheumatic heart disease:
- See multiple media stories on the event, here.
- Our ‘Ask’ document showcases our five priorities and the events of the day.
- Action: Please support our efforts to increase Federal funding to END RHD and to take action now so that no child born in Australia, from this day forward, will die from rheumatic heart disease – find and follow through our education partner Take Heart on Facebook and join us as a supporter of the END RHD alliance.