Declare 14 April as "World Day for People Affected by Chagas Disease"

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Mercè Martinez
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During the 72nd World Health Assembly to be held next May in Geneva (Switzerland), the proposal to declare April 14 as the World Day of People Affected by Chagas Disease will be discussed.

The proposal comes from an initiative of the International Federation of Associations of People Affected by Chagas' Disease
– FINDECHAGAS (http://findechagas.org/ founded in 2010 which is currently composed of more than 20 civil society organizations from different parts of the world.

This date has been chosen to commemorate the day because it coincides with the day that Brazilian medical doctor Carlos Ribeiro Justiniano Chagas first diagnosed the infection in a girl callled Berenice Soares in 1909 (it's been 110 years!)

 

A globally recognized day will favor the implementation and multiplication of information, education and communications actions necessary to increase awareness and knowledge about Chagas. This will be a great step forwards to address the stigma and neglect associated with the disease and to defend the rights of all people everywhere to good health.


The proposal of a world day for Chagas is framed in the following context:

 

1) The globalization of Chagas and the consequent demand for appropriate care worldwide, considering that the number of people infected is currently estimated to be at least, 8 million with more than 65 million deemed at risk.
2) Figures estimate that less than 10% of people who have Chagas' disease are properly diagnosed and only 1% receive the treatment they need.

3) The need to inform and disseminate the message that Chagas' disease is not synonymous with death but is a treatable disease, and also to draw attention to  the challenges and obstacles that people living with the disease experience.

4) The challenges linked to the comprehensive care of affected people, including timely diagnosis, adequate treatment, complementary examinations and procedures, and access to medication at the primary, secondary and tertiary care levels.

5) Stigma and discrimination in various areas of life (family, work, social life), which is still a reality for many affected.

6) The importance of raising awareness among the general public and both national and international government agencies about the reality experienced by people affected by Chagas' disease, from a vision that combines the biological, psychological and social dimensions of this problem.

7) The need for greater investment in tackling this disease as well as for the implementation of prevention and control strategies for all transmission routes.

8) The need to deepen support for fundamental research, technological development, information, education and communication to increase knowledge about this multidimensional and complex problem.


For all these reasons, we want to reach the World Health Assembly with as many signatures as possible to show the enormous number of people in the world who support our cause and want to make their voices heard so that April 14 is officially adopted as the "World Day of people affected by Chagas disease".

 

Thank you very much!

 

The vote for the adoption of this day will be held at the World Health Assembly  in May at the headquarters of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva.

 

The International Federation of Associations of People Affected by Chagas Disease (FINDECHAGAS), is a non-profit organization, born in 2009 with a first meeting in Uberaba Brazil, thanks to the cooperation of institutions working with Chagas' disease globally.


The main purpose of the federation is the creation, promotion, and disemination of the principles and guidelines stated in the Uberaba's Declaration derived from the first meeting of the associations of patients with Chagas disease in the Americas, Europe and the Western Pacific, held on October 20 and 21, 2009, in the city of Uberaba, Brazil.