A four-step process for building sustainable access to diagnosis and treatment of Chagas disease

Batista et al.

The vast majority of people with Chagas disease (CD) are undiagnosed and untreated. Improving access to diagnosis and treatment for CD involves confronting a wide range of barriers. This report discusses a collaborative approach to eliminate barriers and increase the availability of CD testing and treatment. Potential areas for intervention are selected based on burden of disease, support of local champions, and commitment from national and local authorities. A 4D approach (diagnose, design, deliver, and demonstrate impact) is then implemented. The diagnose step involves gathering key stakeholders at a seminar to collaboratively identify important barriers and propose solutions. The design step creates a specific plan to act upon the seminar’s conclusions with consensus on core indicators. The deliver step entails implementing the plan at pilot locations, while simultaneously strengthening health system capacity for CD testing and treatment. Lastly, the demonstrate impact step compares baseline data with annual post-implementation data to measure progress. In Colombia, this approach has helped simplify testing procedures and increase CD testing and treatment access in pilot communities, though challenges remain. The 4D approach represents one of several pathways toward ensuring that the best therapeutic and diagnostic products reach people affected by neglected tropical diseases.

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