Chagas disease is an illness that primarily affects the heart and the digestive system. It is caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi and is mostly transmitted to humans by an insect vector called Triatoma infestans, known locally in Bolivia as the vinchuca.
Also known as the “silent disease”, Chagas is endemic in 21 countries in Latin America. However, due to the social phenomenon of migration, its range has now expanded beyond the historically endemic territories and today the disease is also found in many countries in Europe, North America, and other continents.
Chagas disease is one of the world’s many forgotten and neglected diseases. Most of those affected are Quechua speakers who come from or live in rural areas where most of the inhabitants belong to indigenous populations. Although these people are bilingual—speaking both Quechua and Spanish—and can read information about Chagas disease in Spanish, we considered that it would be useful to provide a Quechuan version of our presentation Chagas: A Neglected Disease, since everyone finds it easier to understand information presented in their own language. Quechua is the code of these indigenous peoples, the language they use in their own lives, the language that incorporates their way of seeing the world and their way of expressing, understanding, or interpreting the world around them.
For example, when Eusebio from Mizque in Bolivia was asked whether he understood absolutely everything he read in a bilingual newspaper or had doubts, he replied, “When I read in Quechua, I have no doubts or questions”. Our aim was to create a presentation that would be useful to Quechua speakers. Our goal was to make a contribution representing a plural viewpoint and an openness to the culture of indigenous peoples in this modern world.
Chagas: Saqirasqa unquy
Presentation: Chagas, a Neglected Disease
X Workshop on Chagas Disease