Chagas Disease in the Americas: Improving Access and Tools for Patient Diagnosis and Treatment

[October 2, 2009]
Los Angeles, USA

 

 

Chagas Disease in the Americas: Improving Access and Tools for Patient Diagnosis and Treatment

Doctors Without Borders/Médicos Sin Fronteras/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi), with the support of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Program in Global Health, hosted a symposium at UCLA in Los Angeles, CA on October 2, 2009, titled: “Chagas Disease in the Americas: Improving Access and Tools for Patient Diagnosis and Treatment.”

As we marked the 100th anniversary in 2009 of the discovery of Chagas disease, MSF and DNDi works on several fronts to raise awareness about this neglected disease, increase access to care for patients, and address the urgent need for new treatments and diagnostic tools. This experts’ workshop brought together a broad spectrum of individuals and organizations working on Chagas disease to share current evidence, discuss diagnosis and treatment challenges, and explore fields of collaboration for increased advocacy and R&D in Latin America and the US.

The forum provided opportunities to explore the challenging realities of Chagas disease in the Americas, from conducting R&D activities, to securing funding, to ensuring treatment for Chagas patients.

Objectives

  • Raise awareness about Chagas disease in the US and the neglect faced by patients with this disease in North America and around the world
  • Share current evidence and discuss the challenges of diagnosis and treatment of Chagas disease in Latin America and the US
  • Network with Chagas disease researchers and concerned stakeholders to explore fields of collaboration for increased R&D and advocacy for improvement of diagnosis and treatment tools
  • Produce working consensus statements and calls for action for Chagas disease

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MSF is an international medical humanitarian organization created by doctors and journalists in France in 1971. Today, MSF provides aid in more than 60 countries to people whose survival is threatened by violence, neglect, or catastrophe, primarily due to armed conflict, epidemics, malnutrition, exclusion from health care, or natural disasters. MSF provides independent, impartial assistance to those most in need.

DNDi is an independent, not-for-profit product development partnership (PDP) working to research and develop new and improved treatments for deadly neglected diseases such as leishmaniasis, sleeping sickness, Chagas disease, and malaria. DNDi’s cost-effective, patient-driven model for drug research is proving to be a viable alternative for patients long neglected by market-driven drug development priorities.  DNDi is currently the only PDP with a portfolio of Chagas-specific drug development projects.  For more information on DNDi’s portfolio and their campaign “Wake Up. Time to Treat Chagas disease!”

The UCLA Program in Global Health partners with academic institutions in developing countries to advance prevention, policy, and clinical research for HIV/AIDS and other diseases in all regions of the world. The program works with developing-country partners to integrate treatment and prevention of HIV, implement innovative prevention programs, stimulate the implementation of beneficial policies and laws, address gender inequity, and train the next generation of US and developing-country scientists and advocates to continue this essential work.