Monica’s Gang is on a new adventure. This time, the children’s characters will learn and teach readers everything important to know about Chagas disease, a problem that affects millions of people around the world, but that many people don’t know about.
The thematic edition of the magazine, produced by MSF (Médicos Sem Fronteiras) in partnership with the Mauricio de Sousa Institute, provides information in simple and accessible language so that parents and children understand the forms of prevention, symptoms and treatment. The publication was released this Thursday (14) on World Chagas Disease Day and is available for download at this link.
“Chagas affects people in vulnerable situations with little access to health services and information. Many do not know they have contracted the disease, as they have not been diagnosed. They are at serious risk of developing its chronic form, which can lead to complications and, in some cases, death”, explains Vitória Ramos, MSF’s Advocacy and Humanitarian Affairs manager.
Currently, not even the faculties that train health professionals deal with pathology in their courses. “The misinformation is very large, so it is important to talk to all audiences and in different formats about this disease that still exists. And the magazine is an opportunity to reach children and family members who also read to the little ones”.
For Amauri Sousa, executive director of Instituto Mauricio de Sousa, putting the characters in an educational story is very gratifying. “We know that a health campaign with Mônica, Cebolinha and Cascão brings greater curiosity, as it awakens the imagination of many generations who grew up reading comic books and can do the same with their children. more people”, says Amauri.
According to the WHO (World Health Organization), 6 to 7 million people worldwide are infected by the parasite. Trypanosoma cruzi, which causes Chagas disease. And approximately 10,000 deaths will be caused by diseases that are related to Chagas every year.
Although the numbers are superlative, the disease is part of a group of neglected diseases that affects poor countries and more commonly areas outside large urban centers. In Latin America, the disease is endemic in 21 countries, putting 75 million people in the region at risk of infection.
When it comes to treatment, current drugs, discovered half a century ago, are especially effective during the acute phase, when the parasite is present in the blood, and at the beginning of the chronic phase of the disease, when it lodges in organs and tissues. But without therapy, patients can develop serious conditions with heart and digestive complications, which is why it is so important to know what the symptoms are and make the diagnosis as early as possible.
In Brazil, the lack of epidemiological data is also a serious problem. Even after strong pressure from experts and civil society, including Doctors Without Borders, reporting of chronic cases is still not being implemented.
“With underreporting, we do not know how many Brazilians have the disease or where they are. This lack of knowledge exacerbates the lack of adequate public policies for these people who could be found”, explains Vitória. That is why it is so important to talk about Chagas Disease not only on April 14th, but throughout the year and for different audiences.
The publication also has the support of Fiocruz and INDi (Medicines for Diseases Initiative).