There has been an increase in asymptomatic cases of rheumatic heart disease among children which according to RHD Divisional Coordinator Central and Eastern, Poonam Pal is a worrying trend.
Pal says this is concerning because it means the disease can be progressing undetected, potentially causing irreversible damage before it’s even noticed.
Pal says Fiji currently has over 5,000 registered RHD cases, with a significant number concentrated in the Central Division.
“If you child is having joint pains and fever or jerky movements please go and get seen and ask the doctors and nurses if it could be rheumatic because we don’t want it reaching the hear eventually. We are detecting a lot of RHD cases nowadays, lot of our children a asymptomatic, there are no symptoms so if there are screenings happening, please make the most of it.”
Lal is also urging parents be vigilant and take their children for regular check-ups.
“Fiji is one of the highest of having RHD cases in the world, one of the countries that has got the highest numbers and considering our population which is not even a million that’s quiet concerning and we need to take this disease seriously, we need to start taking steps to address this issue.”
Lal says early diagnosis and treatment can significantly reduce the risk of developing RHD.