Skip to main content

What We Do

Global control of rheumatic fever (RF) and rheumatic heart disease (RHD) is eminently achievable. Comprehensive register-based programmes have already effectively reduced the burden of rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease (RF/RHD) at a reasonable cost in disparate geographic settings. The drugs and technology needed for successful control programmes date from the 1950s yet remain inaccessible to many in need.

Although understanding of the interplay between RF/RHD, health delivery and socioeconomic development remains imperfect there is enough knowledge to make a real difference to disease burden - today.

Clinicians, researchers, governments, civil society groups and funding agencies have been working to tackle specific aspects of RF/RHD prevention and control. However, current efforts are often fragmented, not implemented at scale, not embedded within government structures and lack sustainable funding. Several organizations have sought to address these gaps. The passing of a World Health Organization Resolution on RF & RHD in 2018 and increasing expressions of demand for technical support from high-burden countries, signal that urgent action is needed now to scale up these efforts and provide the technical support to make an RHD free world a reality.

Outstanding needs for RHD control


People living with and at risk of RHD, and the communities where they live, work and learn, are at the centre of our work. Through our Community Advisory Network (CAN) we actively and meaningfully engage people living with RHD and frontline health-workers to guide our activities and priority-setting.

We work to support access to RHD peer-support groups and facilitate knowledge and experience sharing among the RHD community. We provide tools and training materials to support health workers deliver RF/RHD interventions.


  • Developing a patient education flipchart appropriate for use in low literacy populations, to be piloted in Brazil


Reach works with ministries of health and other partners to help scale-up RF/RHD prevention and control activities in high-burden settings, including providing tools and resources that can be implemented by countries to support these activities. We work with partners to help secure a reliable, quality-assured supply of Benzathine Penicillin G, the medicine needed to manage RF/RHD.

It is important for countries to be able to measure how much of a problem RF/RHD is in their community and who is suffering most, and then to be able to monitor the impact of the programs they implement. We help define approaches to estimate disease burden at different levels (regional, national, local), to identify populations at greatest risk for targeting interventions, and to support development of global RF/RHD monitoring systems.


  • Partnering with the Kenyan Ministry of Health towards establishing a national RF/RHD prevention and control program
  • Working with WHO HQ to support the development of a new program of work on RF/RHD at WHO


We support efforts to ensure RF/RHD is a national health priority in high-burden regions and countries, and provide guidance on the development of national strategies and action plans. Drawing on latest evidence and we guide advocacy and policy priorities for the global RHD community. To support evidence based policy making we are supporting data collection to provide estimates of the burden of disease.


  • Developing a Regional Framework for Action on RF/RHD for the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office
  • Developing a rapid assessment tool to help countries assess their RF/RHD situation and identify priority areas for action