National Rheumatic Heart Disease Awareness Week

Bula vinaka, friends and colleagues – and welcome to a special edition of the MSP blog, in support of the national Fiji Rheumatic Heart Disease Awareness Week, which ran 2nd to 7th of June 2014 – an initiative of the Rotary Club of Suva in partnership with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education.

The aim of the campaign was bold but simple: that every school child and parent across Fiji would know what RHD was.

MSP was fortunate to be involved as the communications consultant for the campaign. Our work was funded by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, through their Direct Aid Program, as part of their support for the campaign.

Working with members of Rotary, MOH and MOE, MSP led the development of a suite of educational materials, including pamphlets, posters and a teaching program.. These were then distributed to every single primary and secondary school across Fiji (a massive feat which took three nights and about 50 volunteers to package the materials up for distribution – a huge vinaka vakalevu to all who helped!)

Here is MSP testing out the draft pamphlets and posters on children and parents in the community in the early stages of developing the final suite of materials….

And the final product!

MSP then worked with the rest of the team on developing a media blitz campaign, including radio, print and television advertising, a social media campaign and a week-long schedule of events around raising awareness of RHD in Fiji. Check out the TV campaign here, starring real life RHD sufferers: Fiji Rheumatic Heart Disease Awareness video – A Sore Throat Can Kill You

Then finally our months of hard work came to its final hurrah: Campaign Week!

Day 1: A Sore Throat Can Kill You – RHD Awareness Week Campaign Launch
Day 2: The RHD Teaching Program is delivered in schools across Fiji
Day 3: CWM Hospital Cardiac Specialist talks about how RHD is diagnosed and managed
Day 4: MSP raises awareness on RHD at Kasavu Village
Day 5: MOH takes the NCD bus to Kasavu Primary School to perform free RHD screenings on the children
Day 6: The RHD Awareness Campaign culminates in a themed Westpac Health Walk!

And through our work, we also had the privilege of speaking with several people living with RHD, and hearing their personal experiences. Mr Ilaitia Usa is one such person who is truly inspirational. You can read his story here:


It has been an amazing experience to be part of this campaign: to witness the message go out to the public, to know that lives can be saved.

Vinaka vakalevu to everybody involved in this campaign. It was a task of gigantic proportions, but how rewarding to see this hard work in action, and the message spread across Fiji.

To find out more about RHD, visit the MOH’s webpage on the disease, put up as part of the campaign week: www.health.gov.fj/rhd.html

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