In 2015, DNDi launched the Chagas Treatment Access Project to increase access to diagnosis and treatment for Chagas disease. Working in collaboration with local, regional, and national partners in several endemic countries, DNDi has launched a series of projects to pilot new models of patient-centred care.

The new patient-centred approach was first implemented in Colombia in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Social Protection, the Colombian National Health Institute, and other partners working together to support the implementation of a comprehensive roadmap for Chagas care. In four Colombian departments where Chagas disease is highly endemic, the projects have increased access to testing and treatment by training healthcare staff on the most up-to-date treatment guidelines; simplifying and accelerating the procedure for diagnosis; and decentralizing treatment so that it would be available closer to where patients live.

The collaborative work carried out by the Ministry of Health, local health systems, and DNDi in the project areas produced robust results. When comparing access to care for Chagas disease before and after implementation of the pilot projects, several improvements were made:

  • The average number of people tested annually increased nearly five-fold, from 426 before the project to 2427 after its implementation
  • The average number of cases of Chagas disease detected per year increased from 37 to 260, meaning more people could receive timely care
  • Average wait times for confirmation of diagnosis decreased by over 90%, from 258 to 19 days
  • Average wait times between confirmed diagnosis and start of treatment decreased by over 60%, from 354 days to 135

In the United States, DNDi has also collaborated with the Center of Excellence for Chagas Disease at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles on work to identify the main barriers to treatment access and promote of testing and treatment. Through the project, the first large-scale prevalence study on Chagas disease in a major US city was published, describing findings from the Center’s community screening programme in Los Angeles. The project also conducted research with patients in Los Angeles to understand the main barriers to accessing treatment and care.

Project updates

2020

In Colombia, the project provided technical and scientific support for the creation of two new centres for the diagnosis and treatment of Chagas disease in the states of Arauca and Boyacá. In collaboration with the National Health Institute of Colombia and FIND, the project team elaborated a protocol for the validation of rapid tests in the country. In addition, community education activities to raise awareness about Chagas disease and COVID-19 were carried out in collaboration with local Colombian communities and health personnel.

In Brazil, along with partners including the State Health Secretary of Goias, DNDi supported the implementation of a national policy for reporting of chronic Chagas disease.

In the US, DNDi supported an expert group working on the development of screening recommendations and provided test kits and technical support to a new Chagas disease programme at the University of Florida.

2019

In Guatemala, DNDi participated in a multi-partner project with the Guatemalan Ministry of Health, the University of San Carlos, Mundo Sano Foundation, and other partners. A seminar was held in Jutiapa with key stakeholders to identify the main barriers to care and develop a plan for addressing them. DNDi also provided scientific support for capacity strengthening of diagnosis and treatment for Chagas disease in the Guatemalan state of Jutiapa and donated diagnostic kits and other equipment to the National Reference Laboratory of Guatemala so that a nationwide diagnosis validation study could be implemented.

Ending the neglect of Chagas in Colombia

Bringing Chagas disease care to a remote Colombian region