Good Practice

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Name of public health intervention:
Sand for Health: Elimination of Chagas Disease

Entity that is presenting it:

  • Institution/Organization name: Ministry of Health Guatemala - Área de Salud Chiquimula
  • Address:
  • Phone:
  • Email:
  • Website:

Type of Organization: Governmental


  • Participating National Institutions, Organizations and/or Subregional Entities:
    Guatemala Ministry of Health
  • Participating International and Multilateral Organizations:
    Panamerican Health Organization (PAHO), Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA)

Disease Prevention and Control

Chagas, prevention, education, sustainability

Geographic scope of the intervention?


Where is the intervention being implemented?

  • Region(s):
  • Country(ies):
  • Locality(ies):

Is there a target population or beneficiary? No

When did the intervention begin?

Is it still functioning? No

Chagas disease, or American trypanosomiasis, is a parasitic disease caused by the protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi and transmitted by insects. In Guatemala, those living in the poorest areas, with the lowest standards of living have become the most susceptible in contracting the disease. Since no vaccination exists for Chagas disease and since it is difficult to detect symptoms since they are so closely shared with other illnesses, it is more effective to prevent the disease rather than treat it.

The first phase of the Elimination of Chagas Program with the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) began in 2005, however, the spraying of repellents on homes is expensive and needs to be redone every six months. For this reason, the Area of Health tried to find a more sustainable solution and formed partnerships with the Ministry of Health, JICA, University of San Carlos, Area of Health in Chiquimula, the municipalities and communities.

The initiative consisted of training the community about how to prevent bugs containing this parasitic disease from entering their homes. The training showed members of the community how to cover up cracks in their walls, wetting it and spreading a mixture of sand and dirt over the wall and once dry, putting a base of limestone on top. This basic solution was not only cost-effective and sustainable but it also educated the community on how to effectively prevent contracting the disease.

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Additional Material:

Links and Additional Resources:

Contact Information:

Name of Contact Person:
Ing. Rolando Martínez - Alcalde
Municipalidad de San Juan Ermita
Tel: 502-5734-1751

Additional contact:
Alfredo Gallardo - Presidente
COCODE, Los Encuentros
Tel: 502-4030- 7526

Additional contact:
Alvero Roque - Director
Área de Salud Chiquimula


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