Médecins Sans Frontières International

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Meeting: 
144th session of the Executive Board<br>24 January - 1 February 2019
Agenda Item: 
7.6 World health days
Statement: 

In 2017 this Executive Board received a Proposal from Brazil, Colombia, Spain, Bolivia, Panama and Costa Rica to consider the creation of the “World Chagas Disease Day”. This demand came from civil society, especially the people affected by the disease, and is supported by MSF.

MSF has responded to Chagas Disease in numerous projects from 1999 to 2016, providing access to diagnosis to more than 117,000 people and treatment to over 9,000 people in several countries.

After the review made by the WHO about the efficacy of world days, MSF believes this matter needs strong consideration by the organization and its member states.

Chagas disease is a huge underestimated global health concern. About 6 to 7 million people are estimated to be affected by the disease and 75 million people are currently at risk of infection. There is a whole generation of people affected by Chagas disease detached from Health Systems due to the lack of access to diagnosis and treatment.

Given that most of the challenges regarding Chagas Diseases are related to the lack of visibility, the creation of this day can be an important factor of change to its’ history of neglect, catalysing key actions such as active search of people living at chronic phase and more coordination around R&D priorities and investments.

Next April 14th marks the 110th anniversary of the discovery of Chagas Disease. The Federation of Associations of People Affected by Chagas Disease (FINDECHAGAS) have been using this date to call for better policies. The creation of the world Chagas day is a FINDECHAGAS’ legitimate demand that should be heard and understood as an opportunity to change the reality of millions of people.