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Chagas disease and Hepatitis B: a new project identifies risk factors

New research against Chagas disease and Hepatitis B (Photo: Pixabay)
New research against Chagas disease and Hepatitis B (Photo: Pixabay)

A new research project proposes to identify the risk factors for mother-to-child transmission of the Chagas disease and hepatitis B virusin Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay.

Victoria Periago, CONICET researcher and scientific coordinator of the World Foundation Sano affirms that “The project will reveal the knowledge and perceptions of the community regarding Hepatitis B and Chagas disease, controls during pregnancy and institutionalized childbirth”, he affirms.

The central focus of the project is to evaluate the transmission rates of these infections, identify the level of access to their diagnosis and treatment for pregnant women and their newborns, and also explore the barriers and promoters of the use of health services. It is estimated that the work plan will last 18 months.

“Through field interviews with pregnant women, health agents, and community leaders, the different types of factors that may be connected to each other will be investigated, from the point of view of the health service, the infrastructure, the care provided, the transportation to get to a visit, as well as more social or cultural factors, between all of them”, highlights Periago.

The project aims to help eliminate mother-to-child transmission of Chagas disease, HIV infection, syphilis and hepatitis B, following the guidelines of the EMTCT-Plus Strategy of the Pan American Health Organization.

Every two months, a team made up of professionals from different specialties (gynaecologists-obstetricians, ultrasound scanners, biochemists, paediatricians, infectious disease specialists and family doctors) carry out intensive interventions per year in areas of the border region made up of the towns of Santa Victoria Este, in Argentina, Crevaux and D’orbign, in Bolivia and Pozo Hondo and San Agustín in Paraguay, among others. Around 23,000 people reside in this region, most of them belonging to native peoples. The region is geographically dispersed, and has important internal migratory movements, which makes access to health services difficult.

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