A cooperation agreement to facilitate and strengthen access to diagnosis and treatment for patients with Chagas and other diseases of public health interest was signed by the Ministry of Health and Social Protection and the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi) English, the Ministry of Social Protection reports (computer translated).

The Triatoma or “kissing” bug. Image/CDC
The Triatoma or “kissing” bug.

The agreement, signed within the framework of the commemoration International Chagas Day, includes continuing the construction of a pilot program to validate the route of care for the disease, which is currently being developed in five municipalities of four departments of the country.

At the same time, it contemplates the implementation of a new diagnostic scheme developed by the National Institute of Health (INS), an institution that recently published the new surveillance protocol in public health that will guide the actors of the health system so that they can provide comprehensive care for patients with Chagas.

Part of the Ministry of Health plan is to interrupt the transmission by the main vector, the insect known as the kissing buge, in 106 municipalities by 2021. To date, there are 33 municipalities certified by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO / WHO).

Chagas disease is a parasitic infection caused by the protozoan Trypanosoma Cruzi and transmitted by an insect—called a triatomine or “kissing bug”—that leads to an estimated 12,000 deaths per year. This disease disproportionally affects people living in rural areas and urban slums in Latin America as the bug lives in the walls and roofs of mud and straw houses.

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People can live with Chagas for decades without any symptoms. While treatment is available, only one out of 10 people affected have been diagnosed. Many people are unaware that they are infected until Chagas causes life-threatening conditions such as heart disease and digestive issues.

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