About the Healthy Living Initiative
Helping Three Rural Communities in Ecuador
Breaking the Link Between Disease and Poverty
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 and 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.
About Chagas disease
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 inter-Andean 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 through blood transfusions and organ transplants, since the parasite is in the bloodstream.