UNITAID / WORLD CHAGAS DAY

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12-Apr-2021 00:02:51
Transmitted by the blood-sucking triatomine bug called Trypanosoma cruzi (T. cruzi), Chagas disease, a neglected disease, currently affects between 6 and 7 million people worldwide and kills an estimated 10,000 people annually. UNITAID

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STORY: UNITAID / WORLD CHAGAS DAY
TRT: 02:51
SOURCE: UNITAID
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: PORTUGUESE / SPANISH / NATS

DATELINE: APRIL 2021, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND / FILE


SHOTLIST:

FILE – PAHO - RECENT - SANTIAGO, CHILE

1. Various shots, insect vectors of the Trypanosoma cruzi (T. cruzi) parasite at thePublic Health Institute of Chile in Santiago, Chile (Instituto de Salud Pública de Chile en Santiago).
2. Med shot, woman examining insect under a microscope.
3. Close up, woman examining insect under a microscope.

UNITAID - APRIL 2021 - GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

4. SOUNDBITE (Portuguese) Mauricio Cysne, Director of External Relations, Unitaid:
“Chagas disease affects 6-7 million people a year across Latin America. It is a "silent disease": it affects the poorest, the most vulnerable and kills slowly. About 2 million women of childbearing age are estimated to be chronically affected by Chagas. Mother-to-child transmission is a critical infection pathway, since the disease is not detected or treated in both mothers and new-borns.

FILE – PAHO - RECENT - SANTIAGO DE CHILE AND VIÑAS DEL MAR, CHILE

5. Med shot, pregnant woman consulting about Chagas disease then being examined at a Chilean hospital.

UNITAID - APRIL 2021 - GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

6. SOUNDBITE (Portuguese) Mauricio Cysne, Director of External Relations, Unitaid:
“On World Chagas Disease Day, Unitaid is proud to announce the launch of a new program for the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of Chagas in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, and Paraguay. This project will be implemented by a consortium of partners led by the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz) in Brazil and will focus on “testing, treatment and care” through the systematic screening of women and their new-borns.”

FILE – PAHO - RECENT - SANTIAGO DE CHILE AND VIÑAS DEL MAR, CHILE

7. Wide shot, woman giving blood using a blood collection mixer at a Chilean hospital.
8. Close up, blood collection mixer, woman giving blood at a Chilean hospital.

FILE – PAHO - RECENT - SANTIAGO, CHILE

9. Various shots, woman testing blood samples at the Public Health Institute of Chile in Santiago (Instituto de Salud Pública de Chile en Santiago).
10. Med shot, woman testing samples at the Public Health Institute of Chile in Santiago (Instituto de Salud Pública de Chile en Santiago).
11. Close up, woman testing samples at the Public Health Institute of Chile in Santiago (Instituto de Salud Pública de Chile en Santiago).

STORYLINE:

Transmitted by the blood-sucking triatomine bug called Trypanosoma cruzi (T. cruzi), Chagas disease, a neglected disease, currently affects between 6 and 7 million people worldwide and kills an estimated 10,000 people annually.

As the world grapples with COVID-19 pandemic, World Chagas Disease Day (14 April) marks the occasion to raise awareness on this neglected, “forgotten” disease and put a spotlight on its potentially fatal consequences.

In Latin America where it is endemic, Chagas causes more deaths than any other parasitic disease including malaria. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 75 million people are at risk of infection, most of them among the poorest and most marginalized populations.

Despite high rates of morbidity and a high associated economic burden, only 7% of people with Chagas disease are diagnosed, and only 1% receive appropriate care. If left untreated, Chagas can cause serious heart and digestive complications.

COVID-19 has made things worse. Many of those suffering from Chagas disease are amongst the population groups most vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic. Patients infected with the disease are also at risk of severe COVID-19 manifestations. In addition, diversion of resources to fight the pandemic, redoubled pressure on healthcare facilities, and patient concerns about contracting COVID-19 when visiting health centres pose new challenges for the fight against Chagas.

Mother-to-child transmission is a major infection route for Chagas transmission. “About two million women of childbearing age are estimated to be chronically affected by Chagas. Mother-to-child transmission remains a critical infection pathway, since the disease is often not detected or treated in both mothers and new-borns,” said Mauricio Cysne, Director of External Relations at Unitaid. “Early diagnosis and treatment can make a difference and keep people healthy”.

In addition to vector control, active screening, and appropriate treatment options for women of childbearing age, their new-borns and their children could substantially limit congenital transmission and reduce the number of new infections. Importantly, early detection of infection in infants can reduce the number of hospitalizations and deaths related to Chagas disease.

Announced on World Chagas Disease Day, a joint initiative by Unitaid and the Brazilian Ministry of Health seeks to improve access to affordable diagnostics, better treatment, and care for women and new-borns in four endemic countries: Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, and Paraguay.

The project will be implemented in collaboration with regional and global partners such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) and seeks to influence other countries in Latin America and beyond.

“This initiative will last more than four years and focus on new approaches to testing, treatment and, care through the systematic screening of women and their new-borns,” said Mauricio Cysne, Director of External Relations at Unitaid.

The evidence generated by the project will be leveraged to facilitate the adoption of feasible and cost-effective health tools and care for Chagas disease regionally and globally.

While most cases still occur in Latin America, the disease is increasingly spreading to other geographies. Cases now appear in places such as the United States, Europe, Canada, Japan, and Australia.
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