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.