MSF releases a children's comic book to raise awareness and highlight world Chagas disease day
To highlight the World Chagas Disease Day, on April 14th, MSF-Brazil commissioned a thematic edition of one of the country’s most popular children’s comic books. The story portrayed in the “Monica and friends” comic uses accessible language to raise awareness about the disease, its prevention, diagnosis and treatment. The publication is a result of a partnership between MSF and the Mauricio de Sousa Institute, an organization named after and headed by the comic´s creator to produce educational content.
Chagas is a tropical neglected disease that affects between 6 million and 7 million people worldwide, most of them in Latin America. It’s estimated that about 14,000 people die every year because of it, while 75 million face the risk of contagion.
Despite such a huge public health impact, there is still an enormous lack of knowledge and insufficient public investment in tracking, diagnosing and treating the disease. There are only two drugs used to treat Chagas, and both were discovered more than 50 years ago.
In order to raise awareness about Chagas disease, MSF has been one of the organizations to successfully lobby for the creation of the World Chagas Disease Day, which was approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2019. Although there are no Chagas-focused MSF projects at the moment, the fight against the disease is part of the organization’s advocacy agenda, with calls for public policies to increase the offer of its diagnosis and treatment at the primary care level and for investments in research and development of new drugs.