Australian Medical Student visits BeatRHD Zambia team in Lusaka
Medical Student researcher Shannon Marantelli was visiting family in north-western Zambia recently when the opportunity arose to visit the BeatRHD Zambia team in Lusaka.
Shannon says, "I really appreciated the opportunity to see how Rheumatic Heart Disease programs run in other countries. It's always good to get a new perspective and learn what works in different settings. The team was so welcoming and went out of their way to show me around.
As my interest is in secondary prophylaxis and related adverse effects, it was exciting for me to watch a penicillin injection and discuss adverse events/monitoring with the team.
My favourite thing would have to be the BeatRHD van, which is famous around Lusaka for its catchphrase "a sore throat can lead to a broken heart!" Overall it was a really informative and enjoyable visit, and I want to thank the team again for hosting me."
BeatRHD in Zambia is led by Dr John Musuku at Lusaka's University Teaching Hospital, and has recently completed screening of over 3,400 school children from government schools in Lusaka. Children identified with sore throat, pre symptomatic mitral valve regurgitation, or borderline RHD are followed-up in seven clinics that have been enrolled around Lusaka, with another seven soon to be enrolled. In 2014 Sandoz donated 25,000 units of benzathine penicillin to the program to be used for secondary prophylaxis.
Shannon is working with the Rheumatic Heart Disease Team at the Telethon Kids Institute in Perth, Western Australia to investigate adverse effects related to benzathine penicillin prophylaxis. She is currently seeking cases of anaphylaxis following BPG administration for a new research project. Please contact Ms Shannon Marantelli for more information on this research project.
For more information on the BeatRHD program in Zambia: