Over time the project has established relations with the regional health center and together we collaborate to provide a solution. The project coordinates communities, provides a lunch incentive, and arranges transportation for nurses and doctors to the outlying communities to do testing on-sight. These healthcare professionals supply all of the equipment needed, organize the diagnostic process, and enthusiastically head out on the trip to provide the consultation.
The initial test is a simple prick on the finger. A drop of blood is placed on a test strip—one line means negative, two is positive. For those who test positive, a vial of blood has to be drawn for further lab tests. These will determine how advanced each case is and as a result, how individuals can be best treated.
This past week the project provided testing in the communities of Kallapani, Lunku Punku, and Vichu Vichu. Of the adults tested, 95% showed positive for chagas. When their lab work comes back, the coordination for local treatment will begin.
While chagas cannot be fully cured in adults, treatment keeps the parasite from multiplying more and prevents further damage to vital organs. Youth around 16 years of age and under can be fully cured.
The long-term hope is that by providing community education, home renovations, and arranging for proper medical attention, the children in these communities will be able to receive treatment early on, or better, evade contracting the disease altogether, avoiding the detrimental health concerns so prevalent amongst their parents.