Americas: Japan pledges $2.7 million to tackle Chagas:
This article was originally published in Clinica
Improvements in epidemiological surveillance and research are key features of a $2.7m investment by the Japanese International Co-operation Agency (JICA) to help tackle Chagas disease in Central America. The investment will be made over five years with the aim of interrupting transmission of the disease by 2010. The move has been welcomed by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), which has helped co-ordinate efforts already underway in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. Around 18 million people are affected by the disease across Latin America and 100 million are considered at high risk. Prophylactic control of the disease is not possible, due to the lack of a suitable vaccine, thus making diagnosis-based therapy the key to tackling the disease. Chagas poses a heavy burden on health systems: In 1998, it was considered responsible for 20% of all chronic heart disease diagnosed in Honduras.