The actions will reach 1,256,700 women of childbearing age and 87,800 new-borns from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala and Paraguay.
Buenos Aires, April 2023- The member states of the Ibero-American Initiative on Congenital Chagas “Not a Single Baby with Chagas Disease: the path towards new generations free of Chagas disease” made a commitment to controlling and reducing the impact of mother-to-child transmission of Chagas disease in twenty four jurisdictions.
The territorial interventions to provide access to diagnosis and treatment of Chagas disease will reach an estimated total population of 5.434.653 of people, of which 1,256,700 are women of childbearing age and 87,800 are new-borns annually. These populations correspond to the following areas: Chaco, Santiago del Estero and Salta (Argentina), Manaos, Barcelos and Carauari (Brazil), Santander, Tolima and Cundinamarca (Colombia); Jalapa and Chiquimula (Guatemala) and Puerto Casado in Alto Paraguay (Paraguay).
“Ibero-America has the great challenge of giving an answer to Chagas disease. And, for the first time, the countries will work together in contexts of eco-epidemiological and cultural diversity”, says Marcelo Abril, technical director of the Initiative and executive director of Mundo Sano, a foundation that has been devoted to the control, diagnosis and treatment of Chagas disease for thirty years now.
The Ibero-American initiative “Not a Single Baby with Chagas Disease” has the goal of controlling mother-to-child transmission of Chagas disease; for this, the initiative aims at strengthening the health systems in terms of prevention, timely diagnosis, treatment and follow-up of Chagas disease, with emphasis on women of childbearing age, pregnant women and new-borns.
“Chagas disease is a strategic health axis for Argentina, and the fact that we, along with the other Ibero-American countries, are implementing specific actions to contribute to the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of this disease is very important for our country”, says Juan Manuel Castelli, undersecretary of Health Strategies of the Ministry of Health (Argentina).
Likewise, the health teams of each country will be trained, free of charge, at the International Postgraduate Course on Chagas Disease of the School of Pharmacy and Biochemistry of the University of Buenos Aires (UBA) and Mundo Sano Foundation. Thus, they will receive information to make access to health care possible for people affected by Chagas disease.
About Chagas disease
In the Americas, the disease is endemic in 21 countries, of which Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico are the countries with the highest number of affected people. In Argentina, there are 1.6 million infected people and 7 million people at risk of becoming infected.
In the world, the disease affects 6 to 8 million people, of which 1.2 million are women of childbearing age. At present, within and outside Latin America, mother-to-child transmission is the main transmission route. It is estimated that 9,000 babies are born to mothers infected with Chagas disease; of them, most of the affected children do not get access to timely diagnosis and treatment to avoid the consequences on people’s health.
About the Ibero-American Initiative
In 2021, at the XXVII Ibero-American Summit of Heads of State and Government held in Andorra, the “Ibero-American Initiative on Congenital Chagas: Not a single baby with Chagas disease” was approved, with the goal of contributing to the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of Chagas disease from a multidisciplinary approach.
The initiative belongs to the adhering Ibero-American countries. At present, the participating countries include Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Spain, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Paraguay. The presidency is held by Brazil and Mundo Sano Foundation is the Technical Unit.
It’s time to speak of Chagas disease
In the context of the World Chagas Disease Day, Mundo Sano Foundation gathered three renowned experts to share their view on the disease, the importance of diagnosis and treatment, and the role of health teams in disease attention. Link to Spotify
Dr Pedro Albajar Viñas, Responsible for the World Health Organization (WHO)’s Programme for the Control of Chagas Disease.
Dr Manuel Segovia Hernández, Professor and head of the Department of Microbiology of the Hospital Universitario Virgen de Arrixaca, Murcia, Spain. Although it is located in a non-endemic country, Murcia is the first region in the world to become a reference point in the control of Chagas disease, and is considered a model by the WHO for the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of this disease.
Dr Silvia Gold, President of Mundo Sano, a Foundation that, for thirty years now, has worked to change the reality of people affected by neglected diseases, including Chagas disease.