Research, Policy & Global Development, Chagas

All We Need is Your Attention

ISGlobal, member of the Chagas Coalition, supports the claim by the patient associations on World Chagas Day

Photo: Ana Ferreira

April 14 is World Chagas Day. On this occasion, ISGlobal, founding member of the Global Chagas Disease Coalition, wishes to show its support to the patient associations who demand comprehensive care for this neglected disease.

Hereunder, the note published by the International Federation of Associations of People Affected by Chagas disease (FINDECHAGAS)  

All we need is your attention

Estimates continue to indicate more than 6 million people affected and 7,000 deaths annually.

The International Federation of Associations of People Affected by Chagas Disease (FINDECHAGAS) celebrates this year, for the second time, the World Chagas Disease Day, which was approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2019. Faced with the difficulties that the COVID-19 has imposed on humanity, people affected by Chagas, as well as other neglected diseases, have been perceived to be more vulnerable, both because of our state of health and exposure to the new pandemic. In addition, health care programs have also reduced their ability to serve us due to efforts made in response to the pandemic.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has not facilitated the visibility of the actual condition of people affected by Chagas, we must remember that we are among those who suffer from one of the most neglected diseases on Earth, according to WHO. This new World Day is an opportunity to draw attention to the disease and, above all, to remember that the care we need must be comprehensive. The complexity of this problem requires different approaches, in addition to integrating its prevention, attention, control and surveillance into the regular activities of the health systems of our countries.

For this reason, we consider it very important that Chagas be part of the maternal and child health control activities, but also increase the training and awareness of health professionals in the health posts closest to the rural and urban communities most affected by the disease in its diverse forms, both in endemic and non-endemic countries.

The disease can cause very serious complications if it is not diagnosed and treated early. It can impact the ability of affected people to lead a healthy professional, social and family life, and is also a cause of stigmatization. For all these reasons, advances in the care of people with Chagas disease will not be achieved through a single action or only the biomedical component, but by integrating all the necessary actions (intersectoral and interdisciplinary) so that we may no longer be underserved.

Every day, those affected by Chagas experience the difficulties that fighting this disease brings. So, count on us. We believe that the tools of control, diagnosis and treatment can improve our quality of life and facilitate our struggle, as long as they are adapted to the contexts in which we live. That is why the coffee brown of the earth and the green of hope are the colors that we choose to represent ourselves in the world.

If we are to achieve the goals of eliminating the disease as a public health problem by 2030, as approved by the WHO member countries, all we need is your attention.