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Developing an optimal strategy for the rheumatic fever endgame

42 months
Approved budget:
Professor Michael Baker
Health issue:
Infectious disease
Proposal type:
Lay summary
Acute rheumatic fever (ARF) and its serious complication, rheumatic heart disease (RHD), produce large ethnic health inequities and remain important causes of preventable suffering and death for Maori and Pacific New Zealanders. There is a lack of agreement about the best mix of interventions to prevent ARF and reduce the health impact of RHD. This research will use a combined economic and epidemiological model to assess which interventions produce the greatest health gains for the same health resources. It will compare a range of interventions at the primordial (e.g. income, housing), primary (e.g. sore throat and skin infection treatment, vaccination), secondary (e.g. improved ARF diagnosis, antibiotic prophylaxis) and tertiary (e.g. better access to medical and surgical treatment of RHD) levels. New Zealand (NZ) is investing significant resources in ARF and RHD prevention and control. This research will help ensure we achieve the best possible value for Maori and Pasifika children