Poverty

Project Profile

Chagas

OVERVIEW

The Chagas project seeks to bring attention and intervention to a preventable disease affecting the rural poor and improve food security by providing new skills and supplies for families to produce in orchards, raise small animals, and produce honey for consumption and marketing. Support this project through financial contributions and prayer.   

Cause:

Location

Field Staff:

Local Partner:

Bolivian Baptist Union (UBB)
OBADES

The Situation

Chagas disease is a silent killer among the poor in Bolivia. Bolivia, one of the poorest countries in South America, has the greatest number of cases globally with about 10% of the population infected. It transmits by the Vinchuca insect, which thrives in adobe walls and thatched roofs, common materials used in Bolivian homes. The parasite enters the bloodstream and can live undetected for decades while quietly destroying internal organs, especially the heart. If detected early, Chagas is treatable. 

With simple home renovations, re-infection is preventable. However, the costs for medical care and construction supplies are far beyond the means of the people most affected. CBM’s Chagas project provides prevention education and treatment of the disease together with local communities and agencies. With the help of volunteers through the local church, home renovations and treatment are provided through this project.  

OVERVIEW

The Chagas project seeks to bring attention and intervention to a preventable disease affecting the rural poor and improve food security by providing new skills and supplies for families to produce in orchards, raise small animals, and produce honey for consumption and marketing. Support this project through financial contributions and prayer.   

The Situation

Chagas disease is a silent killer among the poor in Bolivia. Bolivia, one of the poorest countries in South America, has the greatest number of cases globally with about 10% of the population infected. It transmits by the Vinchuca insect, which thrives in adobe walls and thatched roofs, common materials used in Bolivian homes. The parasite enters the bloodstream and can live undetected for decades while quietly destroying internal organs, especially the heart. If detected early, Chagas is treatable. 

With simple home renovations, re-infection is preventable. However, the costs for medical care and construction supplies are far beyond the means of the people most affected. CBM’s Chagas project provides prevention education and treatment of the disease together with local communities and agencies. With the help of volunteers through the local church, home renovations and treatment are provided through this project.  

How We Are Helping

Here are a few long-term, sustainable strategies that CBM and UBB have developed to bring about positive change in Bolivia.   

Prevention through community education and home renovations. 

Chagas disease awareness workshops are held in affected communities. Further, a skilled builder works alongside family members to make homes Vinchuca-proof by plastering the walls and ceiling and pouring a cement floor.  

Blood testing and supervised medical treatment.  

The entire family is tested for Chagas. Those that test positive undergo an ECG and chest X-ray. In the early stages, damage to internal organs is preventable. Proper health care can prolong life.   

Improving food security 

To improve the immune system of local individuals, OBADES ensures access to a variety of foods recommended by the nearest health center by providing skills training and supplies for local production.  

The Impact of Our Work

Damiana is from Mizque and has two children and a granddaughter she cares for. A meeting was held in her community where she heard about the Chagas project. After applying, the family received training and education on the prevention of the disease. The family also received support in construction materials such as plaster and cement for the renovation of their home, thus avoiding the proliferation of the Vinchuca in their home due to Chagas disease. Through the project, a small garden was also provided to improve the family’s diet, which Damiana uses to supplement her goat raising.  

“If they hadn’t come, we would have no help, so thank you. I have sold all my goats but one (to buy the corrugated metal roofing), but I have my house now and I’m going to buy more goats. I’m happy like that.”  
“I think the project helped this family in their time of greatest need; by offering plaster and cement the family immediately decided to improve two rooms and a kitchen.” 
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