2016 AMA Report Card on Indigenous Health - A Call to Action to Prevent New Cases of Rheumatic Heart Disease in Indigenous Australia by 2031
The 2016 Report Card on Indigenous Health focuses on the enormous impact that Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) is having on Indigenous people in Australia. Every year, RHD kills people and devastates lives – particularly the lives of young Indigenous Australians. It causes strokes in teenagers, and requires children to undergo open heart surgery. Yet it starts with symptoms as innocuous as a sore throat, or a skin infection commonly known as ‘school sores’.
RHD is a disease of poverty, and it is preventable. Yet, Australia – one of the world’s wealthiest countries, has one of the highest rates of RHD in the world, almost exclusively localised to Indigenous communities. Indigenous Australians are 20 times more likely to die from RHD than their non-Indigenous peers – and, in some areas, such as in the Northern Territory, this rate rises to 55 times higher.