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Colours to Save Hearts

Colours to Save Hearts is a programme developed by the World Heart Federation with technical and financial support from the Heart Fund, Direct Relief, Instituto Nacional de Saúde (INS), the Mozambique Institute for Health Education and Research (MIHER), the State of Geneva, and Edwards Lifesciences Foundation.

The project is being initially implemented in Mozambique, which has an estimated 3% incidence of rheumatic heart disease (RHD) – one of the highest rates among school-aged children in sub-Saharan Africa.

Colours to Save Hearts is a WHF project in Maputo, operated by MIHER and implemented by INS.

RHD is the most commonly acquired heart disease in people under the age of 25

RHD claims over 291,000 lives each year, mostly in low- and middle-income countries

Most RHD patients do not reach 40 years of age

Rheumatic heart disease is a preventable cardiovascular disease which affects 39 million people worldwide, mostly children and young adults. Mozambique has some of the highest rates of RHD in sub-Saharan Africa among school-age children, estimated at around 3%.

Colours to Save Hearts is an initiative aimed at raising awareness of rheumatic heart disease among children, teachers and parents, and educate them about the link between sore throat and rheumatic heart disease, how to recognise symptoms and what to do when they first appear.

Colours to Save Hearts comes at a time when the world’s focus on health is heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic. Underlying conditions such as rheumatic heart disease can increase a person’s risk of health complications if infected. Through increased awareness, improved access to treatment, and investment in affordable care, we can make RHD a disease of the past.”

Ana Mocumbi, Head of the Non-Communicable Diseases Division, National Health Institute of Mozambique

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It starts with a colouring crayon…

…but it doesn’t end there.

This project started as a small campaign to raise awareness about RHD among school-age children in Mozambique, using nothing but a colouring book and some colouring crayons. It has since evolved into a much more ambitious project, aiming to educate children, teachers and parents to detect the first signs of strep throat, to train health workers on RHD prevention, and to support the capacity of local hospitals for much-needed surgeries to repair or replace damaged heart valves.

Our impact

  • Increase awareness of rheumatic heart disease and its warning signs among children, parents and teachers.
  • Give healthcare professionals the tools they need to monitor, diagnose and manage RHD and rheumatic fever in their communities.
  • Strengthen health systems and structures to enable early detection and swift referral when needed.
  • Increase awareness of RF and RHD, and the importance of prevention, among health authorities.
  • Support the capacity for cardiac surgery in local hospitals.


children in 24 schools




health professionals

Latest News

Colours to Save Hearts: Raising awareness of RHD in Maputo, Mozambique

In March 2022, WHF organized a site visit to Maputo, Mozambique, as part of the Colours to Save Hearts programme. Operated by the Mozambique Institute for Health Education and Research and implemented by the National Health Institute of Mozambique (INS), Colours to Save Hearts is a WHF initiative aimed at raising awareness of rheumatic heart disease (RHD) […]

Rheumatic Heart Disease

Ending Rheumatic Heart Disease is achievable if we put our heads and minds to it

This editorial was authored by WHF Director of Policy and Advocacy Jeremiah Mwangi and was first published in FORESIGHT Global Health on 19 August 2021.  Preventable, yet persistent, Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) is the most commonly acquired heart disease in people under 25 years of age. The World Heart Federation (WHF) is committed to the […]

Rheumatic Heart Disease

The role of patient support groups in the prevention and management of RHD

Guest post: Christine Katusiime, RHD Patient Support Group-UHI The RHD Patient Support Group in Uganda was started in 2015 by a group of patients diagnosed with rheumatic heart disease (RHD) attending the Uganda Heart Institute (UHI) cardiac clinic in Kampala. This group is composed of patients who have had different experiences with RHD. Some have […]

Rheumatic Heart Disease

WHF launches a new partnership to help end Rheumatic Heart Disease

Geneva. 15 June 2021. Major health groups have joined forces to combat a largely ignored but preventable heart disease that affects more than 39 million people worldwide – as many or more than the number of people living with HIV AIDS — and claims more than 290,000 lives each year. In Africa, Colours to Save […]

Rheumatic Heart Disease