63rd World Health Assembly: a step forward in the fight against Chagas
The resolution, ‘Chagas Disease: Control and Elimination’, approved during the World Health Assembly last week, includes the integration of treatment and diagnosis at primary healthcare level for patients in both acute and chronic phases of the disease. This is a step in the right direction in the fight against the disease, which affects between 10 and 15 million people around the world, but mostly in Latin America.
“This is an opportunity for the millions of Chagas patients. Now, the affected countries must receive the support they need so that national programs can implement the changes so that patients have access to diagnosis and treatment”, says Gemma Ortiz, Neglected Diseases Senior Advocacy for MSF. “We hope that these written words are put into action”, adds Ortiz.
Besides, the resolution includes other important points like the reinforcement of the provision of existing treatments in disease-endemic countries with the aim of making access universal; and the promotion of operational research on the control of Chagas disease in order to promote the development of a valid and accessible test of cure.
However, the resolution approved by the WHA missed the opportunity to include an important point: the need to promote alternative mechanisms of financing the research and development for better rapid diagnostic tests, new treatments and a test of cure.