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Report

The cost of inaction on Rheumatic Heart Disease

The predicted human and financial costs of rheumatic heart disease for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 2016-2031
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Indigenous health Aboriginal Australians housing Indigenous children Cardiovascular diseases Aboriginal Australian youth Rheumatic fever Heart disease Burden of disease Australia
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Description

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities have some of the highest rates of rheumatic heart disease (RHD) in the world.

This report – published by the END RHD Centre of Research Excellence (END RHD CRE), based at the Telethon Kids Institute – outlines the trajectory of acute rheumatic fever (ARF) and RHD in Australia until 2031, assuming only the current levels of funding and attention to these diseases: the cost of inaction.

Key findings:

  • There are currently 4,539 people living with rheumatic heart disease
  • If no further action is taken to address rheumatic heart disease, a further 10,212 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are projected to develop the disease or its precursor – acute rheumatic fever – by 2031. Of these people:
    • 1,370 will need heart surgery
    • 563 with RHD will die
    • $317 million will be spent on medical care
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