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Church Partners start new project in Bolivia

Distribution of Chagas disease. Graphic by Tomato356 (from Wikipedia)

June 12, 2014

By Simon Chambers

PWRDF is joining with Canadian Baptist Ministries (CBM), Presbyterian World Service and Development (PWS&D) and the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in a new health care program in Bolivia.  The program targets Chagas disease, which is spread by biting insects called vinchucas or “kissing bugs”.

Almost 1000 people in 200 houses will benefit from the program, which will detect the disease and treat people living with Chagas. Education and home improvements will help to control the spread of the disease by keeping the vinchucas out of people’s homes.  Similar programs have already been effective in Brazil.

Home improvement and cleanliness is a key to the prevention of the disease, as the vinchucas live in the cracks of poorly constructed homes in rural or suburban areas.  Plaster-sealed walls in a home with a metal or shingle roof are far less likely to be populated by the vinchucas than a mud-walled structure with a thatch roof.

The four Canadian agencies will be working with OBADES, a Baptist social development agency in Bolivia, to implement the program.

“Churches that worked together as Canadian Churches in Action after the 2004 tsunami in India and the South Asia earthquake in 2005 have continued to learn from one another and to seek opportunities for joint work,” said Adele Finney, Executive Director of PWRDF.  “The four agencies agreed after review of several projects that working with OBADES on the little known but very serious health issue of Chagas will benefit us all, and particularly the people living in Chagas-infected homes. PWRDF is glad to be a contributing partner in this ecumenical effort.”

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