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Focus on RHD at the PASCAR Congress and Cardiovascular Society of Mauritius

23 Oct 2015

The joint Pan African Society of Cardiology (PASCAR) Congress and the Cardiovascular Society of Mauritius CVS(M) was held at the InterContinental Resort Balaclava Fort, Mauritius from 03–07 October 2015. PASCAR 2015 convened clinicians, policymakers, researchers, advocates and other stakeholders from Africa and beyond to discuss topical cardiovascular issues and trends on the continent today.

The scientific programme of PASCAR 2015 was diverse, covering several of the World Heart Federation’s key strategic areas. A strong theme was rheumatic heart disease (RHD), which remains endemic in several countries across Africa. The topic was central to several sessions and surrounding discussions, culminating in the launch of RHD Action Africa – the first continental arm of the RHD Action movement, which was launched the previous week during the UN General Assembly.

RHD remains a significant problem in Africa; an alarmingly large percentage of the 275,000 deaths caused by RHD each year occur on the continent. To highlight the need for action, the launch of RHD Action Africa began with a short video encapsulating RHD and its implications at a global level (video password: rhdaction).


Caption: RHD Action Alliance members prepare to launch RHD Action Africa

This was followed by lively presentations from the three inaugural RHD Action Global Partners: the World Heart Federation (Change the link !!!) on global policy and advocacy experts; RhEACH on science, research and technical experts; and Medtronic Philanthropy on partnerships and private sector experts. Speakers representing RHD Action’s inaugural Country Partners in Tanzania and Uganda then took to the floor, painting an engaging picture of the realities of RHD on the ground at national level. A question and answer session closed the Launch, after which guests were directed to the RHD Action booth, where they could access the RHD Action movement’s latest resources, all of which are available online at the RHD Action Resource Hub.

Encouragingly, several PASCAR country delegates have since expressed interest in joining the movement, inspired by the progress being made in the movement’s inaugural RHD Action Country Partners in Africa: Tanzania and Uganda.

A further highlight was the announcement by Acting Prime Minister of Mauritius who, with support from the Cardiovascular Society of Mauritius, set a bold goal of achieving ‘smoke-free island status’ in Mauritius. If realised, this would be a global first and holds the potential to catalyse action to increase tobacco control across the African region. The World Heart Federation is encouraged by this courageous step, and looks forward to working with stakeholders in Mauritius to achieve this ambition.

Among the resources profiled at the event were the World Heart Federation CVD Roadmaps.(Change the link !!!)

These flexible guides serve as a menu of policy options to prevent and control CVD, which countries and regions can then adapt to suit their needs and resources (presentation available here). World Heart Federation’s President, Dr Salim Yusuf, referenced the CVD Roadmaps in his delivery of the 2015 PASCAR lecture: ‘What will it take to end cardiovascular disease in the world?’ (presentation available here).

The World Heart Federation would like to extend its congratulations and thanks to the Pan African Society of Cardiology (PASCAR) and the Cardiovascular Society of Mauritius (CVS(M)) for co-hosting such a lively and relevant Congress. We look forward to continuing our work and collaboration in the lead-up to PASCAR 2016 and beyond.

Caption: A group of PASCAR 2015 delegates promote physical activity with a ‘Walk for Life’