Staff at the Raiwaqa Health Centre organised a day at the movies last Saturday for a group of thirty young people who are living with rheumatic heart disease.
The group was able to meet at Village 6 cinemas and share their own experiences of living with RHD, be educated about the condition by doctors and nurses and enjoy the box office hit movie Avengers Infinity War.
Raiwaqa Health Centre Medical Officer in Charge Dr. Erum Samreen said “There are many barriers to young people receiving their monthly injections. We wanted to have a fun activity to bring our young people together to share their stories, enjoy a movie and also use the opportunity to get some health messages across to them to help them manage their condition.”
RHD is a common yet preventable heart condition, causing significant health problems through childhood and into early adulthood. RHD is the second most common cause of death among 5-29 year olds in Fiji. Studies have shown that RHD affects as many as 1 in 50 children in Fiji. People living with RHD are required to have monthly penicillin injections for a minimum of ten years.
“One of my roles as a nurse is to make sure that our RHD patients are getting their injections on time every month. If someone doesn’t turn up, I call them up to find out why they’ve missed. Having these activities helps bring together young people and their parents see that there are other people who have the same condition and we can re-emphasize the importance of having their monthly injections and looking after their health” said Staff Nurse Sweta Kapoor who organised the day’s activity.
Artika Kumar, 21 of Vatuwaqa who has RHD said “I am really grateful to my doctors and nurses of Raiwaqa Health Centre for organising such a wonderful day out for all of us. It was great meeting up with other RHD patients. I really hope to attend more activities like this in the future.”
Staff Nurse, Kapoor says that activities like this are made possible through the generosity of organisations such as Damodar Cinemas and support from the Ministry of Health and Medical Services and Cure Kids.