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RHDAction to be launched on 29 September

21 Sep 2015

RHD Action aims to end one of the most preventable killers of women and children

This World Heart Day (29 September 2015), the RHD Action Alliance will launch its global movement to end one of the world’s most preventable killers of women and children: rheumatic heart disease (RHD).

The World Heart Federation, as one of the inaugural Global Partners of the RHD Action Alliance, is delighted that the launch coincides with World Heart Day 2015, as this global platform will give this neglected disease the exposure it needs. World Heart Day aims to educate the world about all types of heart disease, from the ones caused by lifestyle choices and risk factors (e.g. hypertension and stroke) to those caused by environmental factors, such as overcrowding and poor sanitation.

RHD is a preventable, treatable form of cardiovascular disease that affects over 32 million people around the world and kills 275,000 of them each year. It affects the world’s poorest, most vulnerable populations and imposes heavy costs on the health systems that can least afford it. If left untreated, RHD can lead to heart valve damage (requiring costly surgery to replace those valves), stroke, heart failure and death. In endemic countries, prevalence of this preventable disease is a stark measure of health system failure and inequality. It is vital that, on World Heart Day, people become more aware of how heart disease can affect the most vulnerable individuals in society.

To bring RHD to the world stage and demonstrate the links with outcomes of the United Nations Summit to adopt the Post-2015 development agenda in New York, the RHD Action Alliance will be launching ‘RHD Action’ – the global movement to reduce the burden of RHD in vulnerable populations of all ages throughout the world.

This event is being attended by World Heart Federation Members, as well as high-level UN dignitaries, government officials and other stakeholders. The keynote speaker is Madame Toyin Ojora-Saraki, founder and President of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa. Speakers will also include representatives from UNICEF, Save the Children, experts from the Institute of Health Metrics Global of Disease and people living and working with RHD from around the world.

While celebrating World Heart Day this year, please remember the people affected by RHD. You can stay up to date with the Launch of RHD Action by following the movement on Twitter @RHDAction, and by visiting, the movement’s website, when it goes live on World Heart Day.