Release of Updated WHO Report on Rheumatic Fever and Rheumatic Heart Disease
Ahead of discussions on a Resolution, the World Health Organization (WHO) has released an updated report on Rheumatic Fever and Rheumatic Heart Disease.
Highlighting RHD as an important development issue for Member States, the report outlines the burden of RHD across all WHO regions, and provides an overview of barriers to progress on RHD prevention and control, action taken by WHO to date, and recommended future actions for governments and WHO.
The report was updated from the version considered by governments at the 141st Executive Board meeting in June 2017, and includes comments made by officials made at that meeting.
The changes include more explicit text on the coordinating role WHO can play in providing advocacy and ‘guidance in research and development of a group A streptococcal vaccine’, and the benefits this could have for a number of other syndromes such as cellulitis and sepsis, and in reducing maternal and infantile morbidity.
Among the recommendations included in the report – retained from the previous draft – are calls for national RHD programmes, awareness-raising, health workers training and increased international collaboration. Indeed, the report proposes that ‘the biggest gap in control of rheumatic heart disease is in implementing effective primary and secondary preventive measures’.