Fiji ranks among countries with the highest rates of Acute Rheumatic Fever (ARF) and Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) in the world.
This was highlighted by the Permanent Secretary for Health Dr James Fong at the World Heart Day Landmark Lighting yesterday in Suva.
Dr Fong said the impact of RHD extends beyond the individuals and families affected and RHD costs the Government around $11,473 per patient per year, encompassing both direct and indirect costs.
He said this not only burdens Fiji’s healthcare system but also the economy.
Dr Fong said Fiji’s commitment in recognising rheumatic fever and RHD as a global health priority is reflected in the National Strategic Plan and Annual Operational Plan for the Ministry.
“These plans aim to improve prevention, detection, and diagnosis of childhood illnesses, including the management of RHD cases at all healthcare levels and providing holistic care according to guidelines at sub-divisional levels.”
He added the Ministry is not able to do this alone and needs partners to raise public awareness, empower and take charge of their well-being.