The efforts continued by Rheumatic Relief began in 2009 and have flourished to become a viable clinical, educational, and research program with the potential of saving the lives of hundreds of children, as well as influencing clinical protocol for rheumatic heart disease (RHD). The target population is children of Samoa, specifically ages five to fifteen years. These years have been identified as the time of vulnerability to the cause and effect of RHD.
Students and faculty from Brigham Young University will implement and refine an education program to share with children and their caregivers. The program draws attention to the seriousness of a sore throat and outlines the appropriate actions to be taken. A team of echocardiograph technicians, led by a board certified cardiologist, complete the program by offering free echo screenings for the children. The involvement with and oversight of the rheumatic program by indigenous nurses, doctors and governmental health agencies has been, and will continue to be, essential to the overall success of the program. Students will have an opportunity to participate in program associated research.