Case Story


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Initiative Name:
Cooperation among Countries to Eliminate Chagas Disease in the Americas
Initiative Status:
Implementation phase / on-going
Adaptation, replication or scaling up of a previous initiative?
Modality of the initiative:
Disease Prevention and Control
Chagas disease, Enfermedad de Chagas

Geographic Identifiers

Countries Leading or Providing Technical Cooperation:
Latin American countries
Countries Demanding Technical Cooperation:
Latin American countries
Participating National Institutions, Organizations and/or Subregional Entities:
• Ministries of Health,Municipal authorities and mayors,Community leaders,Universities
Participating International and Multilateral Organizations:
Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization, Japan International Cooperation Agency(JICA), Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), Agencia Española de Cooperación Técnica y Desarrollo (AECID), Partner NGOs
Initiative Start Date:

Initiative Description

Chagas disease, or American trypanosomiasis, is a parasitic disease caused by the protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi and transmitted by insects. The disease is endemic in 21 countries throughout the Americas, and the vectors responsible for transmitting the infection inhabit unhealthy housing and dwelling spaces, making it an issue of concern in lower income communities, primarily in developing countries. However, increasing migration across borders and from rural to urban living spaces is renewing the threat of the infection, even in areas previously considered “safe”.

Declining mortality rates (currently at 12,000 deaths per year vs. 45,000 deaths per year in the 1980s) show that significant progress has been made in the Region, despite the fact that the disease has not been completely eliminated yet. The progress that has been made thus far is largely attributable to extensive cooperation among countries to prevent, control and treat the disease, especially regarding vector control. This is especially true of border areas with shared ecosystems and high levels of traffic, where the disease can easily pass from one community to another.

Beginning in 1991, subregional initiatives to combat Chagas disease were created as part of a larger regional strategy for the prevention, control and treatment of Chagas disease.” The choice of the Ministers of Health to adopt a subregional approach to the disease validates and reinforces the importance of strong cooperation among countries on this particular health issue. Progress made to date towards control of the disease has been made almost entirely due to successful integrated vector control programs, which are being implemented on both sides of affected border communities. Close coordination and collaboration among countries will continue to be important to maintain the achievements made thus far and to continue to progress towards the complete elimination of the disease.

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Contact Information:

Name of Contact Person:
Dr. Roberto Salvatella, PAHO Advisor on Chagas Disease
Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)
PAHO office in Urugay