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Rheumatic Fever Strategy


  • Extensive rheumatic fever in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • Co-designed evaluation, monitoring KPIs, and consulting with community stakeholders
  • Ongoing
The Challenge

Acute rheumatic fever (ARF) and rheumatic heart disease (RHD) occur at much higher rates in Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, causing serious morbidity and premature mortality. It is recognised as a disease of poverty, often resulting from persistent poor living conditions that are entirely avoidable in Western countries. As such, the prevalence of Group A Streptococci (GAS), ARF, and RHD in Aboriginal communities today is an unacceptable statistic.

The Approach

The Commonwealth Department of Health engaged Abt to develop key performance indicators (KPIs) and evaluate seven community-based primordial and preventative ARF programs delivered to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in select communities. Abt has developed a broad-based methodology for the development of the KPIs and the conduct of the evaluation. The evaluation follows a co-design approach, with the funded service providers, other key stakeholders, and the department involved in determining the KPIs, the evaluation design, and implementation.

The Results

To date, Abt have achieved the following:

  • Co-designed the evaluation plan and KPIs with the seven implementation sites
  • Obtained ethics approvals from various committees across four states
  • Engaged in ongoing collaboration with sites to optimize data collection and reporting mechanisms to align evaluation reporting with organizational reporting.