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Global Strategy Statement delivered at WHO Executive Board

11 February 2016
Dr Taubert (in red) at the Executive Board meeting

The World Heart Federation, a founding member of RHD Action, delivered a statement calling for more action to tackle rheumatic heart disease in women, children and adolescents at the 138th Session of the World Health Organization Executive Board meeting, held from 25-30 January in Geneva, Switzerland. The Statement was delivered by the Vice-President of the American Heart Association, Dr Kathryn Taubert, who has previously co-written an article on Benzathine Penicillin G and the management of RHD.
Dr Taubert delivered her statement during the session on the operational plan to take forward the Global Strategy on Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health, and highlighted the compelling need to include RHD services within the Global Strategy in order to achieve its vision of a world where ‘every woman, child and adolescent in every setting realizes their rights to physical and mental health and well-being, has social and economic opportunities and is fully able to participate in shaping prosperous and sustainable societies’.
RHD disproportionately affects women, children and adolescents: the disease begins in childhood, and in one international study 66% of patients with severe RHD were women, with a median age of 28. 

In her statement Dr Taubert, recommended the following steps to align action on RHD with the objectives of the Global Strategy:

  • Establish RHD registers for improved monitoring and accountability of maternal, child and adolescent health outcomes;
  • Implement selected interventions from the TIPS Framework, a toolkit for implementing RHD control programmes, in basic universal health coverage packages;
  • Orient UHC priorities towards inclusivity and financial protection to ensure care for every woman, child and adolescent.

The World Heart Federation and RHD Action look forward to working with the maternal, new born, child and adolescent health community to achieve the goals of the Global Strategy and reduce the burden of RHD on women, children and adolescents.