Chagas

Through research, training and the establishment of synergies with other centres and organizations, we seek to provide greater visibility and resources to the fight against this neglected disease

Photo: Ana Ferreira

Between 6 and 7 million people worldwide are estimated to be infected by the Trypanosoma cruzi parasite that causes Chagas disease. However, the vast majority of these people do not have access to diagnosis and treatment.

Between 6 and 7 million people worldwide are estimated to be infected by the Trypanosoma cruzi parasite that causes Chagas disease. However, the vast majority of these people do not have access to diagnosis and treatment.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) classification, there are 20 Neglected Tropical Diseases, most of which can be prevented or eliminated. It is estimated that one in six inhabitants of the planet, mainly in developing countries, suffers from at least one Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD). Despite the suffering and disability they cause, these diseases have low visibility and low priority, since they exclusively affect vulnerable populations with little political voice. Chagas is one of those diseases, on which we have focused our efforts for more than a decade.

María Jesús Pinazo

The Initiative will continue to contribute to the fight against Chagas, enhancing its model of learning, research, training, transfer and direct care, in collaboration with our partners. This disease knows no borders, and our vision is to adapt the care model from that global perspective, always keeping in mind the final objective of our work: people.

María Jesús Pinazo, director of the Chagas Initiative

Since 2002, the ISGlobal team works together with civil society and carries out research, training and care activities on Chagas disease both in endemic and non-endemic areas, implementing a global health care model. With the support of AECID, ISGlobal, the Fundación CEADES, the Universidad Mayor de San Simón (Cochabamba, Bolivia), the Universidad Autónoma Juan Misael Saracho (Tarija, Bolivia) and the National Chagas Programme in Bolivia—which is one of the most affected countries of the Americas—set up the Platform for the Integral Care of Patients with Chagas Disease in 2009. It is a model of care adapted to national health policies and strategies of both Spain and Bolivia. The Platform combines comprehensive care measures for patients, training for health care professionals, and research protocols through a joint scientific platform. Since then, more than 190,000 affected people have received treatment.

Currently, the Initiative is supporting the expansion of access to diagnosis and treatment in Paraguay, again with the support of AECID, and together with local health authorities and the Center for the Development of Scientific Research (CEDIC), as well as partners and allies of the Global Chagas Coalition (Fundación Mundo Sano and Fundación PROBITAS, among others).

Key facts

6-7 M people with the infection
75 M people at risk
10,000 deaths annually

Because of increasing globalization and population movements, Chagas disease has become a global health problem. Beyond the 21 endemic countries of the Americas, where most of the affected people live, there are a large number of cases in the United States and Spain, as well as in other countries in Europe and Asia. For this reason, the Initiative's research, exchange, training and care model, created with the participation of patients, seeks to adapt to this population mobility both within endemic countries and towards non-endemic countries.

From a public health perspective, ISGlobal supports the worldwide consensus for the early detection of infection in women of child-bearing age, children and newborns. Likewise, ISGlobal considers that quality care for chronic Chagas patients is a priority, in order to avoid or control cardiac, digestive or neurological complications from this disease.

The ISGlobal initiative—together with its partners of the Global Chagas Coalition—supports the WHO and PAHO efforts aimed at eliminating the disease as a public health problem by the end of the decade.

Our Team

Initiative Director

Initiative Coordinator

  • Irene Losada
    Irene Losada Medical Research Fellow & Chagas Initiative Coordinator

ISGlobal Team

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