Rheumatic Heart Disease


Rheumatic heart disease (RHD), the leading cause of acquired heart disease in young people worldwide, is the sequelae of a simple throat infection. It is highly prevalent in Sudan leading to premature mortality and significant morbidity in children and young adults.
In its early stages, RHD is subclinical and can progress to severe disease if not treated. Echo technology advances enable small Handheld Echocardiography (HHE) machines to diagnose RHD in its early stages. There is good evidence from many studies that HHE is a reliable, sensitive, and specific tool for RHD diagnosis.

The project

In 2015, the Sudanese Children’s Heart Society launched the Sudan Handheld Echocardiography Screening Project (SHES). SAMA supported this project by funding the purchase of 2 HHE devices. An additional 2 devices were purchased by another nonprofit organization.


By June 2022, SHES completed screening for RHD in 9 states in Sudan (see map). It demonstrated a high prevalence in Kordofan and Darfur States.

The research project resulted in the creation of an RHD Control Center in Elobaid, North Kordofan.


  • Ali S, Domi S, Abbo B, Abbas R, Bushari T, Awad AK, et al. Echocardiographic screening for rheumatic heart disease in 4,515 Sudanese school children: marked disparity between two communities.Cardiovasc J Afr. 2018;29:1–5; DOI: 10.5830/CVJA-2018-022
  • Ali S, Domi SB, Elfaki AMH, Talib KA, Abdelrahman MH, Adam MS, et al. The echocardiographic prevalence of rheumatic heart disease in North Kordofan and initiation of a control program. Sudan Med J. 2017;53:63–6; DOI: 10.12816/0039456
  • Ali S, Awadallah H, Al Hamim A, Al Hussein H, Al Amin Al Sunni M, Bushari T, Ahmed MH. Handheld echocardiography for screening and control of rheumatic heart disease study in Gezira state, Sudan: a double approach model. Cardiovasc Diagn Ther 2018. DOI: 10.21037/ cdt.2018.07.04
  • Sulafa Ali, Saad Subahi. A multi-sectoral, non-governmental program for control of rheumatic heart disease: SUR I CAAN: A model for developing countries. Int J Cardiology 2019;307:195-199; DOI: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2020.03.009