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PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2013 Jul 11;7(7):e2304. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0002304. Print 2013.

Achievements and challenges upon the implementation of a program for national control of congenital Chagas in Bolivia: results 2004-2009.

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APEFE, Programa Nacional de Control de Chagas, Ministry of Health, La Paz, Bolivia.


Bolivia is one of the most endemic countries for Chagas disease. Data of 2005 shows that incidence is around 1.09‰ inhabitants and seroprevalence in children under 15 ranged from 10% in urban areas to 40% in rural areas. In this article, we report results obtained during the implementation of the congenital Chagas program, one of the biggest casuistry in congenital Chagas disease, led by National Program of Chagas and Belgian cooperation from 2004 to 2009. The program strategy was based on serological results during pregnancy and on the follow up of children born from positive mothers until one year old; if positive, treatment was done with Benznidazole, 10 mg/Kg/day/30 days with one post treatment control 6 months later. Throughout the length of the program, a total of 318,479 pregnant women were screened and 23.31% were detected positive. 42,538 children born from positive mothers were analyzed at birth by micromethod, of which 1.43% read positive. 10,120 children returned for their second micromethod control of which 2.29% read positive, 7,650 children returned for the serological control, of which 3.32% turned out positive. From the 1,093 positive children, 70% completed the 30 day-treatment and 122 returned for post treatment control with 96% showing a negative result. It has been seen that maternal-fetal transmission rates vary between 2% and 4%, with an average of 2.6% (about half of previously reported studies that reached 5%). In this work, we show that it is possible to implement, with limited resources, a National Congenital Chagas Program and to integrate it into the Bolivian health system. Keys of success are population awareness, health personnel motivation, and political commitment at all levels.

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