A computer-based Acute Rheumatic Fever (ARF) diagnosis and management decision support system has been designed and developed in Lalitpur.According to Nepal Heart Foundation, the system is the first of its kind in the country. It is a collaboration project between NHF and University of Greenwich, UK.
The project comprises of a team including Sanjib Raj Pandey, PhD research student, University of Greenwich, UK; Dr Jixin Ma, Prof Choi-Hong Lai, University of Greenwich, UK; Dr Prakash Raj Regmi and other doctors from NHF. Dr Regmi informed that untreated streptococcal throat infection which is common among Nepali children causes ARF. ARF and Rheumatic Heart Diseases (RHD) are considered some of the biggest health risks among Nepali children, in comparison to other heart diseases. “ARF/RHD is a challenging and life threatening disease among children aged between 5-15 years, especially in the rural areas of the country.
In Nepal, as many as 1,000 children die each year due to ARF/RHD. The diseases can be cured at the initial stage with proper diagnosis,” said Dr Regmi. Lack of awareness and ignorance of the initial symptoms are key causes of the damage. “Therefore, we hope this model will not only offer assistance to rural health professionals but also allow diagnosis of ARF at an early stage. The system will cut the patients’ costs and reduce government’s financial burden,” he said. Moreover, proper implementation and use of this model will support government in tracking down the cases of ARF.