Building Out Chagas

Cochabamba, Bolivia

Imagine suddenly experiencing organ or heart failure, because you have been living your entire life unaware that you are infected by a potentially fatal disease. An estimated 20-40% of people infected with Chagas disease will develop such life-threatening complications. Chagas disease is a silent killer; spread by bloodsucking triatomine bugs which infest homes by living in the cracks of adobe/mud walls and foundations and nesting in the thatched roofs of substandard housing. Approximately 8 million people worldwide are affected by Chagas disease. Most of those live in rural communities in Latin America.

Bolivia, has the highest prevalence of the neglected parasitic disease. There is no simple treatment for the chronic infection and preventative measures require a lifetime of social and economic commitment via insecticide spraying. The deleterious presence of Chagas-carrying triatomine bugs severely burden already impoverished communities, where the cycle of poverty is perpetuated by a confluence of factors such as poor housing and poor health. Implementing long term prevention strategies are crucial to helping afflicted regions achieve greater economic productivity through better health and opportunity.

ARCHIVE Global’s Building Out Chagas project, developed in partnership with the local nonprofit, Colectivo de Estudios Aplicados y Desarrollo Social (CAEDES), will work with the Huaña Cota community in Tacachi, Cochabamba department in Bolivia. The Huaña Cota community is predominantly indigenous. Such groups often experience marginalization, both socially and economically. Currently, 90% of the local population live in poverty, with 11% living in extreme poverty

Building out Chagas will provide long term housing modifications (plastering walls and replacing thatched roofs) for 55 families. This simple, low-cost modifications permanently eliminates living environments for triatomine bug, thus preventing the infestation of homes and removing the Chagas disease threat. Breaking the cycle of Chagas transmission will reduce the financial burden on families and local health systems. Households will also be empowered to take direct action in improving their health through home maintenance. Participants in renovations will gain marketable construction skills. As with all ARCHIVE Global projects, community focused training reinforces a sustainable model of housing modification for health promotion.

Building Out Chagas will be implemented in partnership with CEADES

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