"Improving the health status of underserved populations through sustainable and comprehensive research, service and educational initiatives related to infectious diseases."

The Healthy Living Initiative

 

The “Healthy Living” project is a long-term initiative that aims to support the socioeconomic development of rural communities affected by Chagas disease in the province of Loja in southern Ecuador. The three target communities involved in this project are Guara, Chaquizcha, and Bella Maria. These communities were chosen due to their relative proximity to each other in addition to their similar levels of isolation and development. With a holistic approach, this public health strategy looks to prevent the transmission of Chagas and other diseases “associated with poverty” by facilitating participatory processes of human development that are sustainable and sustained by the people involved.


Chagas disease, or tripanosomiasis Americana, is a disease caused through the infection of the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi and transmitted through the feces of triatomine insects, commonly referred to as chinchorros or chinche caballo. Their geographic distribution covers the better part of the American continents from Mexico to Argentina. In Ecuador, Chagas disease is distributed in regions under 2,000 meters to sea level and in the interandean valleys, particularly in rural zones. In fact, this disease has become a world problem as migration from endemic areas brings Chagas to previously uninfected areas, primarily in the northern hemisphere. In these non-endemic countries, the transmission is produced through blood transfusions and organ transplants seeing how the parasite infects one’s blood.


Community members, faculty and students from Catholic University of Ecuador and Ohio University, and members of Tsiky Zanaka taken during one of our meeting in summer 2011

Ohio University
Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine
Irvine Hall, Athens, Ohio 45701
740-593-2530 740-597-2778 fax

Last updated: 02/03/2014

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