Issue 4
Monday, 03 June 2019
Charles Darwin University
E-news
Dr Josh Francis trains Timorese health professionals to test for evidence of RHD by using electrocardiography
Dr Josh Francis trains Timorese health professionals to test for evidence of RHD by using electrocardiography

Menzies staffer wins national award for RHD research

Dr Josh Francis, a researcher from the Menzies School of Health Research, has been recognised by his national peers for his work on rheumatic heart disease (RHD) in Timor-Leste.

His paper, titled “Rheumatic heart disease in Timor-Leste school students: an echocardiography-based prevalence study”, was deemed the best research paper at the 2019 Australian Medical Association National Conference Awards. It was awarded this year’s prestigious Medical Journal of Australia National Prize valued at $10,000.

Dr Francis’s paper explored the prevalence of RHD in school-aged children and young people in Timor-Leste.

"Echocardiography was performed by cardiologists to determine the presence of RHD with school-aged children in Dili and Ermera," he said.

"The doctors detected many cases that had previously been undiagnosed and found the rates of RHD in Timor-Leste were among the highest in the world.”

Dr Francis said further work would be undertaken to determine the best approach to early detection, management and prevention of RHD in Timor-Leste as well as the Northern Territory, where rates of RHD are also extremely high.

Specialising in paediatric infectious diseases, Dr Francis' research at Menzies focuses on RHD, tuberculosis, clinical microbiology and strengthening health systems to tackle challenges in Indigenous and global child health.