On 23 September 2022, members of the Chagas Disease Clinical Research Platform and the Global Chagas Coalition, attending the 10th Meeting of the Chagas Platform in Bogotá, Colombia, agreed to a manifesto that is addressed to governments, organizations, funders, and other stakeholders involved in the fight against Chagas disease. The document sets out priorities for action and calls for intensified efforts to achieve the elimination of Chagas disease as a public health problem, as stipulated in the WHO 2030 NTD Roadmap and PAHO’s Neglected Infectious Diseases Elimination Initiative, both aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
The manifesto comes after deep reflection by the scientific community, health programme managers, specialists, and people affected by the disease. It is a joint effort to update the commitments and efforts that must be undertaken in the coming years, with reference to and replacing the Letter of Santa Cruz from 2018, which has been a milestone to guide efforts to fight against the disease.
The manifesto sets out 6 commitments:
- Improve access to diagnosis, treatment, and comprehensive care for people affected by Chagas disease in all its dimensions, guaranteeing the implementation of decentralized comprehensive routes to care, which allow the provision of care and follow-up at the primary healthcare level; adoption of simplified diagnostic algorithms; prioritization of the systematic implementation of screening in women of reproductive age, pregnant women, and infants;
- Encourage investment in research and development to obtain simpler, safer diagnostic and therapeutic tools. This includes undertaking research to optimise current diagnostic algorithms and treatment regimens, as well as developing new tools; more progress to discover biomarkers that accurately identify people at risk of progression to organ involvement, and to provide definitive evidence of therapeutic response in chronic patients who have received treatment;
- Improve surveillance and control of the disease, expanding systems of mandatory notification of Chagas cases and clinical complications;
- Strengthen and facilitate access to training and information resources for both healthcare personnel and affected people, facilitating the provision of up-to-date, high-quality care;
- Promote coordination between the various actors involved in providing comprehensive care and guarantee the participation of affected people and their associations in the design and implementation of strategies, which are adapted to the epidemiological and sociocultural contexts of their communities;
- Continue to support activities related to World Chagas Day as an opportunity to highlight global efforts to reduce the impact of Chagas disease, as well as promote actions to improve access to comprehensive care.
Photo credit: Fábio Nascimento-DNDi