Implementation of Egyptian RHD Program
Last year the Egyptian Ministry of Health began the implementation of its National Program for Rheumatic Heart Disease. Based on the success of a pilot project conducted in three governorates, the program has opened 30 centres throughout the country, equipping them with 60 echocardiograms and ECG data information units. It has also trained 300 cardiologists and 1500 primary health care physicians in RHD management, and established a referral system between primary care centres and rheumatic heart disease centres.
The Ministry has also taken steps to raise awareness about rheumatic heart disease. There have been numerous advocacy campaigns to promote the early detection of RHD, and medical surveys were conducted to assess school children, which were covered by the Egyptian press and television, as well as a video made on the prevention of RHD.
In May last year cardiologist and Program Director Dr Alaa El Ghamrawy was awarded the State of Kuwait Prize for Research in Health for his contribution to the program, which has seen a decrease in the number of heart operations related to RHD since its inception. For more information on the Egyptian National Program, you can read the case study in the TIPS handbook here.
Meanwhile, the Egyptian National Program has also signed a protocol with the League of Arab States, relating to cooperation in the field of streptococcal vaccine research, which has the potential to also prevent rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease.