Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) disproportionately affects underserved populations and is caused by a simple strep throat infection that if left untreated could permanently damage the heart. That’s why health workers like Dr. Glory Simon Joseph, one of only a few pediatric cardiologists in Tanzania, is working on screenings, training of health workers and clinical care.
“Rheumatic Heart Disease is 100 percent preventable,” Dr. Glory said. “I’ve seen the worst scenario of patients losing their life at a very young age. If we treat the strep infection, people don’t end up getting Rheumatic Heart Disease.”
With support from the Medtronic Foundation and RHD Action, Dr. Glory educates health workers on how to identify patients with strep (especially adolescents and pregnant women) who could be treated with antibiotics before RHD occurs and those in the early stages of RHD whose disease progression could be slowed or stopped altogether.