Reach recently attended a WHO AFRO regional consultation on “WHO PEN and Integrated Outpatient Care for Severe, Chronic NCDs at First Referral Hospitals in the African Region (PEN-Plus)”. The consultation held in Kigali, Rwanda in partnership with Partners in Health and Harvard Medical School brought together NCD Focal points from the region with partner organizations working on severe chronic NCDs.
Rheumatic heart disease features in the PEN-Plus strategy which outlines a vision for how to manage rheumatic heart disease (RHD), post valvular surgery patients and other severe chronic conditions through NCD clinics at first referral hospitals.
Reach was pleased to contribute to the discussion in support of an approach that aligns primary, secondary and tertiary care for rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease in an integrated fashion. Addressing the existing gaps in human resource and infrastructure capacity at all levels is the only way to prevent RHD and ensure care for the vulnerable, hard to reach patients that need it.