Reach has been supported by Edwards Lifesciences Foundation’s Every Heartbeat Matters Initiative, through our RHD Action partnership with the World Heart Federation, to develop and pilot rheumatic fever (RF) and rheumatic heart disease (RHD) education tools for health workers to use in their engagement with patients. These tools aim to build health worker knowledge and confidence in talking to patients about the disease, support patient access to information, and raise awareness about RF/RHD among families in high-risk communities.
We have developed two educational flipcharts. The first provides an introduction to RF/RHD for newly diagnosed patients and at-risk communities; the second flipchart is tailored to pregnant women with RHD and is intended for use at antenatal clinics. Both flipcharts provide easy-to-understand information on RHD management with corresponding illustrations of the main points. Members of the Reach Community Advisory Network, made up of patients and frontline health workers provided valuable feedback and input at key stages throughout the development process.
Portuguese-language versions of the flipcharts are now being piloted in the Minas Gerais state of Brazil, in collaboration with partners from the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (Brazil), Children’s National Medical Center (Washington DC, USA) and Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center (Ohio, USA). Health worker training in use of the flipcharts has commenced with train-the-trainer workshops for health providers at the community and primary care level. We are now working to evaluate provider and patient experience with the tools. Multiple-language versions of the flipcharts will be made available through our website in the coming months.