Chagas Disease – Breaking the Silence

Chagas Disease affects more than 7 million people worldwide, but only 1 in 10 are diagnosed and less than 1% receive treatment. When left untreated, Chagas can cause serious heart and digestive system problems – 12,000 people die each year from causes associated with the disease.

Chagas often affects the poorest and most marginalised, and like other neglected tropical diseases, it has been largely unnoticed by society and policymakers. Yet Chagas is one of the most prevalent public health problems in Latin America, with 75 million people at risk, and increasing global movement of people means the disease is also on the rise in Europe and North America.

The World Heart Federation is committed to changing the future of Chagas Disease and those it affects. This year we will be launching a Global Roadmap on Chagas Disease in partnership with the Inter-American Society of Cardiology (SIAC), focusing on the ideal patient pathway of diagnosis and treatment. The writing assembly consists of a wide group of experts working on Chagas Disease who are representative of both many of our Members and also civil society organisations working on this area (Chagas Coalition, IsGlobal, DNDi). The next meeting of the writing group will take place in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic on 14th May. To help us develop the Chagas Roadmap we are conducting a survey – please share this widely with any relevant people in your networks.

A part of our mission to improve heart health for all, WHF has also recently joined the Chagas Coalition – an ambitious, collaborative alliance of civil society organisations, including patient groups, that work to eradicate Chagas Disease by sharing experiences, knowledge and translating this into concerted actions. Together with the Coalition we will host a side-event during the 72nd World Health Assembly – ‘Chagas Disease – Breaking the Silence’ which will seek to elevate the voice of people living with this malady and draw attention to what is being done and what needs to be done to eradicate Chagas Disease.

We look forward to working with our Members in Latin America and worldwide to ensure that those affected by this deadly disease receive the support they need to live long, heart-healthy lives!