We need your help in eradicating Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD). RHD is a devastating neglected disease of poverty--mostly affecting children and adolescents. A total of 39 million people around the world are affected. There is no reason why RHD should still exist, it is entirely preventable and almost completely eradicated in fully developed countries. It usually begins with something as simple as a strep throat infection, but if it goes untreated, the body’s immune system can inflict permanent damage to the heart’s valves—this is RHD.
Unfortunately, RHD continues to be a problem in low and middle income countries because people at risk are unaware of the disease and health workers often lack the training to prevent and manage RHD cases. RHD significantly hampers young peoples’ participation in education and their potential for a productive life. Children with RHD often find it difficult to be active, play with their friends and attend school. Without treatment and support, RHD typically results in early death.
Since 2017, Reach has supported various community, patient, and healthcare provider groups by providing grants for locally scaled RHD projects. Previous projects have been led in Zambia, Uganda, Namibia, Rwanda, Kenya, Fiji, the Philippines, and Nepal. Project areas of focus include youth empowerment, training frontline health workers, outreach to schoolchildren and development of patient education tools and resources in local languages. These projects make a significant impact in raising awareness and better preparing health workers. To date, Reach has funded 20 such projects. The importance of supporting these locally-led projects cannot be understated, as health workers and doctors in low and middle income countries uniquely understand the factors that allow RHD to remain a problem.
For far too long, there has been a lack of adequate resources and attention paid to Rheumatic Heart Disease on the global scale, but together, we can shift this tide. As we enter our 2020 grant phase, we are accepting individual donations for the first time to help provide a new round of grants to eligible RHD projects. All funds raised will directly benefit grassroots RHD projects in areas where the disease is prevalent.
For more information, please contact Salvatore Messina at +1 516 429 1073