The RHD Action Countries are a cohort of countries where government and partner institutions are actively engaged in achieving specific RHD targets within their geographies, while also strengthening their health systems. Strategies and tactics on the ground vary amongst countries and are dependent on existing resources and infrastructure. Aligned with national health plans, these country projects contribute to the global hub of knowledge about best practices to prevent, control and treat RHD. The inaugural RHD Action Countries include India, Tanzania and Uganda.
RHD Action Tanzania is a collaboration of Touch Foundation Tanzania with several Tanzanian partners – National Medical Research Institute (NMRI), Catholic University of Health and Allied Sciences and Bugando Medical Center. Other affiliated partners include PRINMAT – Private Nurse Midwives Association of Tanzania and Sengerema Designated District Hospital. The program aims to leverage an existing education and referral network that includes a Maternal Health Program in targeted areas. By improving RHD identification and referral for treatment, we will strengthen the health system’s capacity to provide basic cardiovascular services in rural Tanzania as well as to strengthen basic antenatal and postnatal care in the public and private sector. A baseline needs assessment done by NMRI will inform interventions to be performed.
RHD Action Uganda is a collaboration of Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland, USA) with several foundational Ugandan partners—Makerere University, the Uganda Heart Institute, and the Joint Clinical Research Center. Other affiliated partners include Children’s National Medical Center (Washington, USA), Mbarara University of Science and Technology, and Gulu University School of Medicine. The program aims to leverage a network of existing HIV/AIDS infrastructure (the Joint Clinical Research Center) and expertise of the Uganda Heart Institute to expand access to RHD care throughout the country. By improving RHD care, we will strengthen the health system’s capacity to provide basic cardiovascular services (e.g. echocardiography, heart failure management, and anticoagulation monitoring) outside of Kampala. Core components of our program include an electronic online national RHD registry, portable ultrasound, secondary prophylaxis clinics, adherence initiatives, health worker training, school screening and education, and a community/patient advisory board and support group.