Education and patient involvement in their care are essential to primary preventative health care.
This aspect of care is more often the role of the family practitioner than specialists.
As a consultant cardiologist it was a privilege to meet with a group of Karenni women in our region to discuss “heart health”.
My co-moderator, Hemma had driven from Ballarat to Geelong for the session arranged by The Water Well Project. The Karenni ladies were engaged and relished the opportunity to listen and ask questions via an interpreter.
We discussed coronary artery disease modifiable risk factors, a "chest pain" plan and good dental care amongst other things.
It made them laugh that a heart specialist worried about their teeth, but as I pointed out, it’s so important in the case of rheumatic heart murmurs.
The ladies appeared very comfortable together as a group who met up regularly. Hopefully, this will improve their uptake of our “heart health” advice.
On a personal level, I found the session very rewarding. I am looking forward to more opportunities to assist with health education of these groups, who have generally had limited access to health advice and experienced difficulties in negotiating our complex healthcare system.
Thank you to The Water Well Project for making it possible.