In this week’s program, we talk about Rheumatic Heart Disease which is an illness that is 100% preventable, and that has mostly been eliminated from developed countries. However, Australia has the highest rate of rheumatic heart disease in the world, with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples being the most at-risk population.
The fact that this disease has not been eradicated in Australia, even though it is preventable, demonstrates the horrible effects of the social, political and economic inequalities in our country and highlights the huge amount of work that still needs to be done to close the gap in disadvantage and inequality.
A person can develop rheumatic heart disease after they’ve had repeated cases of Acute Rheumatic Fever. Acute rheumatic fever is an illness caused by a reaction to a bacterial infection with what’s called Group-A Streptococcus, and mainly occurs during childhood and adolescence.
To find out more about Acute Rheumatic Fever and Rheumatic Heart Disease, we chat with Vicki Wade and Eddie Masina.
Vicki Wade is an Indigenous health expert and advocate. Her career in health covers over 30 years and she has made a significant contribution to health in general and Aboriginal health in particular. Vicki has held many senior positions throughout her career, including National Leader of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Program with the Heart Foundation.
Eddie Masina shares his story with us about his experience of Rheumatic Heart Disease and he’ll explain what it’s like to live with this disease and how it can be treated.
We’d like to thank Rheumatic Heart Disease Australia for their support in setting up the interview.