High in the mountains of Bolivia, Mayra and her grandmother Valentina
live in a very simple one-room adobe home.
Their community is remote and poor. Houses are built mostly of adobe
bricks made of mud and straw, with palm thatch for roofs – materials
that do a poor job at keeping out the bugs that cause Chagas disease.
Chagas disease is an infection caused by the parasite Trypanosoma
cruzi, which is carried by an insect often called the “kissing bug”
and is found mainly in Latin America.
In areas with widespread poverty, Chagas left untreated becomes a
lifelong disease and can cause severe pain, debilitation, heart
arrhythmias and other life-threatening medical problems.
MAP International knew well that the bug posed a danger to community
members’ health and had become endemic in the area, estimating that
15-20 percent of the population would become infected, and began
efforts to prevent the disease in 1993.
International’s comprehensive Chagas prevention and control
program, Valentina learned that she and her only granddaughter
were living in conditions that put them both at high risk for Chagas disease.
She learned how to take important steps to protect their home and
stop the bugs from living in their floors and walls. She started
collecting rocks from around her community to cover the floor of her
dirt home, a tactic advised by MAP, and employed healthier behaviors
to prevent her family from being infected with Chagas.
Today, Valentina and Mayra are healthy and live in a clean, safe home
protected from Chagas disease.
MAP International is a faith-based health organization that partners
with people living in conditions of poverty to save lives and develop
healthier families and communities. Learn more about MAP at map.org.