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ItemAcute coronary syndromes in black South African patients with human immunodeficiency virus infection(2011-10-19) Becker, Anthony CharlesBackground: South Africa is considered to be a country in epidemiologic transition with increasing rates of cardiovascular disease. In addition, it faces an HIV pandemic, with an estimated 5.5 million people infected and five hundred thousand HIV-related deaths annually. Current evidence suggests that patients infected with HIV are at a heightened risk for acute coronary syndromes (ACS) related to traditional cardiovascular risk factors, as well as factors related to the virus and its treatment (highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART)). HIV infection itself may independently predispose to coronary artery disease (CAD) by promoting endothelial dysfunction, a heightened pro-inflammatory state, dyslipidaemia and thrombosis, the aetiology of which is thought to be multifactoral in nature. Protease inhibitor (PI) therapy, as part of HAART, has the potential to induce an adverse metabolic phenotype, including: dyslipidaemia, insulin resistance, endothelial dysfunction and a prothrombotic state. The attributable risk of these factors in HIV-associated CAD and ACS is currently unknown, but it seems that the risk of ACS is increased by prolonged exposure to PI’s. No data currently exists on CAD in HIV patients not receiving HAART, which is problematic considering that this makes up the majority of patients in sub-Saharan Africa and that the combination of epidemiologic transition and HIV infection has the potential for greater cardiovascular morbidity, particularly with respect to atherothrombotic events. viii Aims: The aims of this thesis are twofold. Firstly, to confirm reports of epidemiologic transition in South Africa from a broad epidemiological perspective. Secondly, by focusing on treatment-naïve HIV positive black South Africans with ACS, it aims to determine differences compared to HIV negative patients with respect to demographics and risk factors, angiographic and treatment related factors as well as markers of thrombosis and inflammation with a view to providing more focused primary and secondary prevention. Methods: All the studies contained in this thesis were conducted in the Department of Cardiology, Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital and adhere to the declaration of Helsinki. The first of the epidemiological studies, The Heart of Soweto (HOS) study (Chapter 3), was a prospectively designed registry that recorded epidemiologic data relating to the presentation, investigations and treatment of 1593 patients from Soweto with newly diagnosed cardiovascular disease during the year 2006. The second study (Chapter 4) was a cross sectional study of patients with ACS admitted to the Baragwanath coronary care unit over the year 2004 compared to the years 1975-1980. The HIV sub-study (chapters 5-8) was a prospective single centre study conducted from March 2004 to February 2008. During this time, 30 consecutive black HIV patients presenting with ACS (ACS+: HIV+ group) were enrolled. For each HIV patient with ACS, the first presenting non-HIV black patient with ACS was selected as a case control comparator (ACS+ : HIV- group). In addition, a second control group of 30 asymptomatic HIV patients, who were matched for age, sex and ethnicity (ACS- : HIV+ group), were recruited from the HIV clinic. The methodology used to compare the groups involved: clinical and demographic data collection, routine blood test evaluation, angiographic ix analysis and specific laboratory testing of various research blood parameters (including thrombotic screening and markers of inflammation and endothelial activation). Results: Chapter 3 presents the results of the large HOS study, which showed good evidence to support the theory of epidemiologic transition in Soweto. Adding to this data are the results of Chapter 4, which clearly demonstrate a substantial increase in the number of patients diagnosed with ACS at Baragwanath in recent years. Consistent with a population in epidemiologic transition, there was more than a ten-fold increase in the rate of coronary events over two decades, paralleled by increased rates of modifiable risk factors. Chapter 5 presents the clinical and angiographic data from the HIV sub-study. HIV patients with ACS were younger and had fewer traditional risk factors for CAD except for higher rates of smoking and lower HDL cholesterol levels. HIV patients had less atherosclerotic burden angiographically, but a higher thrombus burden in the infarct related arteries, suggesting a possible prothrombotic state. In addition, HIV patients had higher rates of in-stent restenosis of bare metal coronary stents at follow up. Chapters 6 and 7 present data on the thrombotic parameters between the groups, with Chapter 6 focusing mainly on coagulation pathways and Chapter 7 focusing on antiphospholipid antibodies (aPL). Chapter 8 presents data on levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines and endothelial activation markers. Greater evidence of thrombophilia was found in HIV patients with ACS as evidenced by lower Protein C (PC) levels, higher levels of Factor VIII and a higher inflammatory burden with greater degrees of endothelial cell activation - all of which increase thrombotic risk. Antiphospholipid antibodies were more prevalent in HIV patients but did not seem to be causal in the pathogenesis of thrombosis. x Conclusion: Soweto, a large, predominantly black urban area in South Africa, is in a state of epidemiologic transition, with an increasing prevalence of modifiable cardiovascular risk factors and ischaemic heart disease. Treatment-naïve HIV positive black patients presenting with ACS have different clinical and angiographic features compared to the HIV negative population. The patients are younger, more commonly male, with high rates of smoking, lower HDL levels and less atherosclerotic burden. However, there is a higher thrombotic burden, suggesting a prothrombotic state, which was evident by lower PC levels, higher factor VIII levels with a higher inflammatory burden and a greater degree of endothelial cell activation – all factors associated with a pro-atherogenic and prothrombotic state. The exact pathogenic role of HIV, independent of associated modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors, is difficult to determine, but may be important as a contributory factor in an already “vulnerable” patient. Importantly, we identified modifiable risk factors in the HIV group. Smoking may play a crucial role in the pathogenesis of ACS in these otherwise seemingly low risk patients and remains an important target for cardiovascular risk reduction. The role of HDL in the pathogenesis and prevention of HIV-associated CAD needs to be further defined, as does the role of drug eluting coronary stents in the prevention of in-stent restenosis. Cardiovascular risk assessment and appropriate primary prevention should be an important component in the management of HIV patients, regardless of treatment status. With the anticipated increase in CVD in South Africa, further research projects appropriate to the South African context will be vital in order to explore cost effective ways to provide primary and secondary prevention in order to effectively deal with the burden of epidemiological transition as well as the cardiovascular burden likely to be imposed by the HIV pandemic. ItemA brief history of South Africa's response to Aids(2014) Simelela, N.P.; Venter, W.D.F.The story of the AIDS response in South Africa over the past 4 years is one of great progress after almost a decade of complex and tragic denialism that united the world and civil society in a way not seen since the opposition to apartheid. Today the country can boast >2 million people on antiretroviral therapy, far and away the largest number in the world. Prevention efforts appear to be yielding results. The estimated number of annual new HIV infections declined by 79 000 between 2011 and 2012. New HIV infections among adults aged 15 - 49 years are projected to decline by 48% by 2016, from 414 000 (2010) to ~215 000 (2016). The national incidence rate has reached its lowest level since the disease was first declared an epidemic in 1992, translating into reductions in both infant and under-5 mortality and an increase in life expectancy from 56 to 60 years over the period 2009 - 2011 alone. This is largely thanks to a civil society movement that was prepared to pose a rights-based challenge to a governing party in denial, and to brave health officials, politicians and clinicians working in a hostile system to bring about change. ItemFactors associated with mortality in HIV-infected people in rural and urban South Africa(2014) Otwombe, KN; Petzold, M; Modisenyane, TBackground: Factors associated with mortality in HIV-infected people in sub-Saharan Africa are widely reported. However rural urban disparities and their association with all-cause mortality remain unclear. Furthermore, commonly used classical Cox regression ignores unmeasured variables and frailty. Objective: To incorporate frailty in assessing factors associated with mortality in HIV-infected people in rural and urban South Africa. Design: Using data from a prospective cohort following 6,690 HIV-infected participants from Soweto (urban) and Mpumalanga (rural) enrolled from 2003 to 2010; covariates of mortality were assessed by the integrated nested Laplace approximation method. Results: We enrolled 2,221 (33%) rural and 4,469 (67%) urban participants of whom 1,555 (70%) and 3,480 (78%) were females respectively. Median age (IQR) was 36.4 (31.0 44.1) in rural and 32.7 (28.2 38.1) in the urban participants. The mortality rate per 100 person-years was 11 (9.7 12.5) and 4 (3.6 4.5) in the rural and urban participants, respectively. Compared to those not on HAART, rural participants had a reduced risk of mortality if on HAART for 6 12 (HR: 0.20, 95% CI: 0.10 0.39) and 12 months (HR: 0.10, 95% CI: 0.05 0.18). Relative to those not on HAART, urban participants had a lower risk if on HAART 12 months (HR: 0.35, 95% CI: 0.27 0.46). The frailty variance was significant and 1 in rural participants indicating more heterogeneity. Similarly it was significant but B1 in the urban participants indicating less heterogeneity. Conclusion: The frailty model findings suggest an elevated risk of mortality in rural participants relative to the urban participants potentially due to unmeasured variables that could be biological, socio economic, or healthcare related. Use of robust methods that optimise data and account for unmeasured variables could be helpful in assessing the effect of unknown risk factors thus improving patient management and care in South Africa and elsewhere. ItemParents' perceptions of HIV counselling and testing in schools : Ethical, legal and social implications(2014-01) Gwandure, R; Ross, E; Dhai, A; et alIn view of the high prevalence of HIV and AIDS in South Africa, particularly among adolescents, the Departments of Health and Education have proposed a school-based HIV counselling and testing (HCT) campaign to reduce HIV infections and sexual risk behaviour. Through the use of semi-structured interviews, our qualitative study explored perceptions of parents regarding the ethico-legal and social implications of the proposed campaign. Despite some concerns, parents were generally in favour of the HCT campaign. However, they were not aware of their parental limitations in terms of the Children’s Act. Their views suggest that the HCT campaign has the potential to make a positive contribution to the fight against HIV and AIDS, but needs to be well planned. To ensure the campaign’s success, there is a need to enhance awareness of the programme. All stakeholders, including parents, need to engage in the programme as equal partners. ItemTraditional male circumcision : Balancing cultural rights and the prevention of serious, avoidable harm.(2014-01) Behrens, K GThe right to participate in cultural practices should be protected. However, it is a limited right, and does not entail a right to activities that cause serious and avoidable harms. I argue that the harms currently resulting from traditional circumcision are very serious, and that we have an obligation to ensure that the practice is effectively regulated so as to minimise them ItemPrevalence and incidence of symmetrical symptomatic peripheral neuropathy in patients with multidrug - resistant TB(2014-01) Conradie, F; Mabiletsa, T; Sefoka, M; et alBackground: Symptomatic symmetrical peripheral neuropathy (SSPN) is common in patients with HIV infection. It is also a common adverse event associated with both tuberculosis (TB) treatment and antiretroviral therapy (ART), particularly stavudine. While tenofovir is the one of recommended first-line nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs), there is a risk of nephrotoxicity when using tenofovir together with the aminoglycosides needed to treat multidrug-resistant (MDR) TB. Thus, stavudine is often chosen as a treatment option for the HIV-infected MDR TB patient. Objective: To assess whether use of stavudine both before and during treatment for MDR TB increased the prevalence and incidence of SSPN. Method: MDR TB patients at Sizwe Tropical Disease Hospital were examined for signs of prevalent SSPN. Age, gender, HIV status, alcohol use, TB and HIV treatment regimens both prior to admission and current, and concomitant medications were recorded. Results: In this cohort of 246 patients, we found that 24.4% of patients with MDR TB had SSPN at time of admission for treatment of MDR TB. They were more likely to be HIV-infected (odds ratio (OR) 3.21; 95% CI 1.25 - 8.21) and tended to have longer (>7 months) exposure to stavudine (OR 1.81; 95% CI 0.90 - 3.63). Incident SSPN occurred in 17% of patients and was associated with older age (hazard ratio (HR) 3.00; 95% CI 1.30 - 6.89) and exposure to terizidone (HR 2.98; 95% CI 0.94 to 4.61) or, to a lesser extent, with stavudine (crude HR 1.62; 95% CI 0.65 - 4.01) in the first 6 months of MDR TB treatment. This common adverse event emphasises the need for the development of less toxic drugs for the treatment of MDR TB. ItemCharting the path along the continuum of PMCT or HIV-1 to elimination and finally to eradication(2014-01) Ramkissoon, A; Coovadia, HIn this editorial we traverse the continuum of transmission of HIV-1 from mothers to children to highlight the biomedical history of this problem. Treatment has progressed from prevention with antiretrovirals (ARVs) through to a broader set of interventions, including various breastfeeding options and other health system improvements, that have increased the possibility of eliminating mother-to-child-transmission (MTCT) of HIV. ItemThe cost of harmful alcohol use in South Africa(2014-02) Matzopoulos, R G; Truen, S; Bowman, B; et al.Background. The economic, social and health costs associated with alcohol-related harms are important measures with which to inform alcohol management policies and laws. This analysis builds on previous cost estimates for South Africa. Methods. We reviewed existing international best-practice costing frameworks to provide the costing definitions and dimensions. We sourced data from South African costing literature or, if unavailable, estimated costs using socio-economic and health data from secondary sources. Care was taken to avoid possible causes of cost overestimation, in particular double counting and, as far as possible, second-round effects of alcohol abuse. Results. The combined total tangible and intangible costs of alcohol harm to the economy were estimated at 10 - 12% of the 2009 gross domestic product (GDP). The tangible financial cost of harmful alcohol use alone was estimated at R37.9 billion, or 1.6% of the 2009 GDP. Discussion. The costs of alcohol-related harms provide a substantial counterbalance to the economic benefits highlighted by the alcohol industry to counter stricter regulation. Curtailing these costs by regulatory and policy interventions contributes directly and indirectly to social well-being and the economy. Conclusions. Existing frameworks that guide the regulation and distribution of alcohol frequently focus on maximising the contribution of the alcohol sector to the economy, but should also take into account the associated economic, social and health costs. Current interventions do not systematically address the most important causes of harm from alcohol, and need to be informed by reliable evidence of the ongoing costs of alcohol-related harms. ItemThe research ethics evolution : From Nuremberg to Helsinki(2014-03) Dhai, AHealth research sets out to acquire not only theoretical knowledge but also benefits for many people and often society as a whole, and is therefore justified. The quandary, though, is how such an important, shared purpose can be pursued with full protection of individuals and communities, in particular those with vulnerabilities. Abuses in the field surfaced in the early 1800s, and by the 1890s, anti-vivisectionists were calling for laws to protect children because of the increasing numbers of institutionalised children being subjected to unethical research. When read together, the Nuremberg Code and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights can be interpreted as establishing a basis for underpinning the principles of free and informed consent and avoiding harms and exploitation in scientific experiments involving human participants. The Declaration of Helsinki has been recognised as one of the most authoritative statements on ethical standards for human research in the world. ItemClinical access to Bedaquiline Programme for the treatment of drug-resistant tuberculosis(2014-03) Conradie, F; Meintjies, G; Hughes, J; et alWhile clinical disease caused by drug-sensitive Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) can usually be treated successfully, clinical disease caused by drug-insensitive MTB is associated with a poorer prognosis. In December 2012, a new drug, bedaquiline, was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. This article documents the process whereby the National Department of Health, Right to Care and Médecins Sans Frontières obtained access to this medication for South Africans who might benefit from subsequent implementation of the Clinical Access to Bedaquiline Programme. ItemSuccessfully controlling malaria in South Africa(2014-03) Blumberg, I; Frean, J; Moonasar, DFollowing major successes in malaria control over the past 75 years, South Africa is now embarking on a malaria elimination campaign with the goal of zero local transmission by the year 2018. The key control elements have been intensive vector control, primarily through indoor residual spraying, case management based on parasitological diagnosis using evidence-based drug policies with artemisinin-based combination therapy since 2001, active health promotion in partnership with communities living in the malaria transmission areas, and cross-border collaborations. Political commitment and long-term funding for the malaria control programme have been a critical component of the programme’s success. Breaking the cycle of transmission through strengthening of active surveillance using sensitive molecular tests and field treatment of asymptomatic persons, monitoring for antimalarial drug resistance and insecticide resistance, strengthening cross-border initiatives, and ongoing programme advocacy in the face of a significant decrease in disease burden are key priorities for achieving the elimination goal. ItemNew imaging approaches for improving diagnosis of childhood tuberculosis(2014-03) Bélard, S; Andronikou, S; Pillay, T; et al ItemSelf- induction of abortion among women accessing second- trimester abortion services in the public sector, Western Cape Province, South Africa : An exploratory study(2014-04) Constant, D; Grossman, D; Lince, N; et alBackground: Despite South Africa's liberal abortion law permitting abortion on request in the first trimester and under restricted conditions for second-trimester pregnancies, the practice of unsafe self-induced abortion persists. However, the prevalence of this practice, the methods used and the reasons behind it are relatively under-researched. As part of a larger study seeking to improve abortion services in the Western Cape Province, we explored reports of prior attempts to self-induce abortion among women undergoing legal second-trimester abortion. Objectives: To describe the prevalence and methods of and factors related to unsuccessful attempts at self-induction of abortion by women presenting without complications and seeking second-trimester abortion at public health facilities in the Western Cape. Methods: In a cross-sectional study from April to August 2010, 194 consenting women undergoing second-trimester abortion were interviewed by trained fieldworkers using structured questionnaires at four public sector facilities near Cape Town. Results: Thirty-four women (17.5%; 95% confidence interval 12.7 - 23.4) reported an unsuccessful attempt to self-induce abortion during the current pregnancy before going to a facility for second-trimester abortion. No factors were significantly associated with self-induction, but a relatively high proportion of this small sample were unemployed and spoke an indigenous African language at home. A readily available herbal product called Stametta was most commonly used; other methods included taking tablets bought from unlicensed providers and using other herbal remedies. No use of physical methods was reported. Conclusions: The prevalence of unsafe self-induction of abortion is relatively high in the Western Cape. Efforts to inform women in the community about the availability of free services in the public sector and to educate them about the dangers of self-induction and unsafe providers should be strengthened to help address this public health issue. ItemThe challenges of managing breast cancer in the developing world- a perspective from sub- Saharan Africa(2014-05) Edge, J; Buccimazza, I; Cubasch, H; et al.Communicable diseases are the major cause of mortality in lower-income countries. Consequently, local and international resources are channelled mainly into addressing the impact of these conditions. HIV, however, is being successfully treated, people are living longer, and disease patterns are changing. As populations age, the incidence of cancer inevitably increases. The World Health Organization has predicted a dramatic increase in global cancer cases during the next 15 years, the majority of which will occur in low- and middle-income countries. Cancer treatment is expensive and complex and in the developing world 5% of global cancer funds are spent on 70% of cancer cases. This paper reviews the challenges of managing breast cancer in the developing world, using sub-Saharan Africa as a model. ItemPerceptions of mental illness among Muslim general practitioners in South Africa(2014-05) Mohamed- Kaloo, Z; Laher, SBackground: Mental health literacy on the part of medical practitioners is an important component of mental healthcare. General practitioners (GPs) are typically the first doctors consulted by a person who is ill. Exploration of their perceptions regarding mental illness, aetiological issues and treatment is important. Objective: To investigate perceptions of mental illness in a sample of ten South African Muslim GPs (five male, five female) in the Lenasia area (Johannesburg, South Africa). Methods: Using a qualitative approach, semi-structured interviews were conducted with each GP. The questionnaire encompassed 37 questions relating to the context in which the GPs practised, perceptions of mental illness, understanding of religion and culture, and treatment of mental illness (including aspects of spiritual illness). Thematic content analysis was used to analyse the data. Results: Six dominant themes were identified, namely GPs' understanding of mental illness and its causation; stigma, secrecy and somatisation; the beneficial effects of religion in mental illnesses; perceptions of spiritual illnesses; collaboration with traditional healers; and collaboration with psychiatrists and psychologists. Conclusion: Greater awareness regarding the stigmatisation of mental illness is needed. Furthermore, it is important that healthcare professionals have an understanding of religious and cultural taxonomies of illness as well as the use of traditional healing as a mode of treatment. Participants identified a need for increased collaboration between healthcare professionals, including traditional healers. ItemSetting ART initiation targets in response to changing guidelines : The importance of addressing both steady-state and backlog(2014-06) Martin, C; Naidoo, N P; Venter, W D F; et al.Background: Target setting is useful in planning, assessing and improving antiretroviral treatment (ART) programmes. In the past 4 years, the ART initiation environment has been transformed due to the change in eligibility criteria (starting ART at a CD4+ count <350 cells/μl v. <200 cells/μl) and the roll-out of nurse-initiated management of ART. Objective: To describe and illustrate the use of a target-setting model for estimating district-based targets in the era of an expanding ART programme and changing CD4+ count thresholds for ART initiation. Method: Using previously described models and data for annual new HIV infections, we estimated both steady-state need for ART initiation and backlog in a North West Province district, accounting for the shift in eligibility. Comparison of actual v. targeted ART initiations was undertaken. The change in CD4+ count threshold adds a once-off group of newly eligible patients to the pool requiring ART – the backlog. The steady-state remains unchanged as it is determined by the annual rate of new HIV infections in previous years. Results: The steady-state need for the district was 639 initiations/month, and the backlog was ~15 388 patients. After the shift in eligibility in September 2011, the steady-state target was exceeded over several months with some backlog addressed. Of the total backlog for this district, 72% remains to be cleared. Conclusion: South Africa has two pools of patients who need ART: the steady-state of HIV-infected patients entering the programme each year, determined by historical infection rates; and the backlog created by the shift in eligibility. The healthcare system needs to build longterm capacity to meet the steady-state need for ART and additional capacity to address the backlog. ItemNational expenditure on health research in South Africa : What is the benchmark ?(2014-07) Paruk, F.; Blackburn, J.M.; Friedman, I.B.; et al.The Mexico (2004), Bamako (2008) and Algiers (2008) declarations committed the South African (SA) Ministry of Health to allocate 2% of the national health budget to research, while the National Health Research Policy (2001) proposed that the country budget for health research should be 2% of total public sector health expenditure. The National Health Research Committee has performed an audit to determine whether these goals have been met, judged by: (i) health research expenditure as proportions of gross expenditure on research and development (GERD) and the gross domestic product (GDP); and (ii) the proportion of the national health and Department of Health budgets apportioned to research. We found that total expenditure on health research in SA, aggregated across the public and private sectors,was R3.5 billion in 2009/10, equating to 16.7% of GERD. However, the total government plus science council spend on health research that year was only R729 million, equating to 3.5% of GERD (0.03% of the GDP) or 0.80% of the R91.4 billion consolidated government expenditure on health. We further found that R418 million was spent through the 2009/2010 Health Vote on health research, equating to 0.46% of the consolidated government expenditure on health or 0.9% of the R45.2 billion Health Vote. Data from other recent years were similar. Current SA public sector health research allocations therefore remain well below the aspirational goal of 2% of the national health budget. We recommend that new, realistic, clearly defined targets be adopted and an efficient monitoring mechanism be developed to track future health research expenditure. ItemSouth African Menopause Society revised consensus position statement on menopausal hormone therapy, 2014(2014-08) Guidozzi, F; Alperstein, A; Bagratee, J S; et al.The South African Menopause Society (SAMS) consensus position statement on menopausal hormone therapy (HT) 2014 is a revision of the SAMS Council consensus statement on menopausal HT published in the SAMJ in May 2007. Information presented in the previous statement has been re-evaluated and new evidence has been incorporated. While the recommendations pertaining to HT remain similar to those in the previous statement, the 2014 revision includes a wider range of clinical benefits for HT, the inclusion of non-hormonal alternatives such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and serotonin noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors for the management of vasomotor symptoms, and an appraisal of bioidentical hormones and complementary medicines used for treatment of menopausal symptoms. New preparations that are likely to be more commonly used in the future are also mentioned. The revised statement emphasises that commencing HT during the ‘therapeutic window of opportunity’ maximises the benefit-to-risk profile of therapy in symptomatic menopausal women. ItemRheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease in Gauteng on the decline : Experience at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital, Johannesburg. South Africa(2014-09) Celliers, A MBackground: The incidence of rheumatic fever (RF) and its complications has waned over the past three to four decades throughout the Western world, but RF remains a problem in developing countries and in the indigenous populations of some well-resourced countries. A marked decline in children presenting with acute rheumatic fever (ARF) and chronic rheumatic heart disease (RHD) has been observed over the past two decades at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital (CHBAH) in southern Gauteng Province, South Africa, which mainly serves the periurban population of Soweto. Objectives: To analyse the observed decline in ARF and RHD, and consider the reasons for the decrease. Methods: Review of children with ARF and RHD captured on a computerised database of all children seen in the Paediatric Cardiology Unit at CHBAH during 1993 - 2010. Results: The records of 467 children with ARF and RHD were retrieved from the database. The majority provided addresses in Gauteng, Soweto and North West Province. The number of children documented to have ARF or RHD declined from 64 in 1993 to 3 in 2010. Onethird of the patients underwent surgery, the majority mitral valve repair. Most of the patients requiring surgery had addresses in parts of Gauteng other than Soweto and other provinces, with relatively few originating from Soweto. Conclusion: The decline in the number of children with ARF and RHD presenting to CHBAH may be attributed to an improvement in socioeconomic conditions and better access to medical care for the referral population over the past two decades.