Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Fundacion Mundo Sano and Harvard University’s David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, signed an agreement to diagnose and treat people affected by Chagas disease in the State of Massachusetts.

The purpose of the project is to develop a pilot diagnosis and treatment project for at-risk populations. Newborns and fertile women coming from countries where the disease is endemic will receive care so as to enable the detection and treatment of this neglected disease. The program will also be available for any other member of the community interested in joining the initiative.

Silvia Gold, President of Mundo Sano, commented, “In our view, turning field experience into replicable knowledge is the way to make an impact. We are confident that our fieldwork-based management models combined with the excellence of Harvard University in knowledge creation make this agreement a great opportunity.” Julia Koehler, MD, project leader representing Harvard University’s David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, commented, “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate over 3,000 people infected with the Chagas parasite in Massachusetts. Since the results of a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine last fall, we know treatment must be given before onset of disease. We intend to raise awareness among the medical community, and by facilitating screening and treatment, eventually prevent heart failure in children and adults, and prevent infection of babies.”

To carry out the initiative, the project will address the neighborhoods where the largest Latin populations live. Mundo Sano will provide support, training and advice to professionals who will take part in the project, with the goal to transfer its experience in diagnosing and treating Chagas disease.

Research will enable gathering key information to map the current situation, a critical aspect in eradicating the disease.

Chagas disease is caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi. The parasite is spread through the bite of an insect known by local names such as chinche, barbeiro or vinchuca, from mother to child or through blood transfusions and organ transplants. Even though the infection may remain latent, once the disease develops it causes heart failure, stroke or gastrointestinal motility disorders leading to severe malnutrition.

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