Medical personnel from Mzuzu-based St John’s Hospital on Saturday sensitised communities from Chigwere in Nkhata Bay District to rheumatic heart valve diseases which mainly attack children aged between five and 15.
During the exercise held at Muzgola Primary School in commemoration of the World Heart Valve Awareness Day that falls on February 22, the medical team explained how the disease is caused and is prevented.
The hospital’s medical officer Isaac Gwetsa appealed to the communities to treat sore throat, saying if left untreated, it progresses to rheumatic fever which causes swollen joints and might lead to rheumatic heart disease.
“This disease is more prevalent in rural areas and is fatal.
“Prevention is the best option because Malawi does not do heart valve surgery or heart transplant,” he said.
Gwetsa said hospitals refer patients to India which is costly; hence, emphasising on prevention.
St John’s Hospital matron Nancy Kamwendo said they came up with the programme after noticing more attacks on children.
“So, we hope that the messages on preventing the disease will reach everyone,” she said.