Diagnosing and treating Chagas
- Chagas disease is endemic in Paraguay, yet diagnosis is still not integrated into basic health services.
- In many cases, this is because health facilities do not have the necessary equipment or staff to carry out testing.
- Since 2010, a Médecins Sans Frontières team has been diagnosing and treating Chagas in Boquerón, one of the three departments that make up the Paraguayan Chaco.
- Health services are limited in the semi-arid Chaco region, where the climate is harsh and many communities are completely isolated when it rains. Médecins Sans Frontières is based in Mariscal Estigarribia, a small town of just 5,000 inhabitants, and works in the regional hospital as well as at health posts in the towns of Teniente Martínez, Pedro P. Peña, Pirizal, La Patria and Laguna Negra.
- Mobile teams travel to remote communities to inform people how Chagas is transmitted and explain the symptoms and the treatment that is available, returning later to carry out testing and diagnosis.
- Following intensive lobbying, production of benznidazole, the most commonly used medicine for Chagas, which is only produced by one manufacturer in Brazil, resumed, after coming to a halt in 2011.
For the latest news on where we work visit: http://activityreport.msf.org/
Médecins Sans Frontières has been working in the country since 2010 till 2013.