Sport, Children and Chagas – A Partnership for Health and Innovation

With the goal to diminish the impact of Chagas disease in Latin American countries, Mundo Sano takes part in a public-private partnership focused on building community engagement through sport in Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay.

Apart from Mundo Sano, the project’s executive body, the Inter-American Development Bank, FC Barcelona Foundation and the government of Japan are part of this partnership. Actions for prevention and treatment of Chagas disease, as well as cooperation between Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay will take place for three years and they will be carried out in coordination with the Ministries of Health of the three countries.

On Sunday the 8th November, 2015 the first Sports Festival was held in Añatuya, Santiago del Estero. It was a friendly and non-competitive environment where over a thousand boys and girls shared a day of sports activities in the open air together with their families. During said celebration, there were recreational games and mixed football, hockey and rugby competitions. The kids and their relatives and coaches that also attended the festival had the possibility to have a blood test done to have their Chagas disease diagnosis available. This was carried out at health units coordinated by Mundo Sando together with the Provincial Chagas disease programme.

The importance of this project –which will contribute to meet the goals set by the London Declaration in 2012 to combat the Neglected Tropical Diseases, NTDs)- lies in the impact that Chagas disease has. Globally, 65 million people are at risk of contracting the disease and around 7 and 8 million are infected. Likewise, each year, at least 12 thousand people die of Chagas disease, 28 thousand new cases occur and 8 thousand new-borns are infected during pregnancy.

It is considered a silent disease since the characteristic symptoms at its acute phase (temperature, headaches, and swollen glands, among others) can be non-specific and misinterpreted for which reason progress of the disease is not noted. As a consequence, this initiative seeks to build knowledge about and improve diagnosis and treatment of Chagas disease. With sports as a tool to reach children, parents and professional teams, access to treatments and dissemination of prevention habits are sought to be achieved.

On Sunday the 8th November, 2015 the first Sports Festival was held in Añatuya, Santiago del Estero. It was a friendly and non-competitive environment where over a thousand boys and girls shared a day of sports activities in the open air together with their families. During said celebration, there were recreational games and mixed football, hockey and rugby competitions. The kids and their relatives and coaches that also attended the festival had the possibility to have a blood test done to have their Chagas disease diagnosis available. This was carried out at health units coordinated by Mundo Sando together with the Provincial Chagas disease programme.

Deporte, niñez y Chagas