Comparative evaluation of community interventions for the immigrant population of Latin American origin at risk for Chagas disease in the city of Barcelona

PLoS One. 2020 Jul 14;15(7):e0235466. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0235466. eCollection 2020.


Introduction: Chagas disease presents bio-psycho-social and cultural determinants for infected patients, their family members, close friends, and society. For this reason, diagnosis and treatment require an active approach and an integral focus, so that we can prevent the disease from creating stigma and exclusion, as is actively promoting access to diagnosis, medical attention and social integration.

Methodology: The study was conducted in the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona (Catalonia, Spain) from 2004 to 2017. After an increased detection rates of CHD in our region, the process of construction of community strategies started (2004-2013). Different community interventions with informational, educational, and communication components were designed, developed, implemented, and evaluated. The results of the evaluation helped to determine which intervention should be prioritized: 1) workshop; 2) community event; 3) in situ screening. Afterwards, those strategies were implemented (2014-2017).

Results: Each of the three strategies resulted in a different level of coverage, or number of people reached. The in situ screening interventions reached the highest coverage (956 persons, 58.98%).Clear differences exist (p-value<0.001) between the three strategies regarding the percentage of screenings and diagnoses carried out. The largest number was in the in situ screening intervention, with a total of 830 persons screened despite the greatest number of diagnoses was among the workshop participants (33 persons, 20.75% of those screened). The prevalence of infection found is similar among the three strategies, ranging from 16.63% to 22.32% of the screened patients (p-value = 0.325).

Conclusions: The results of the study show that community interventions seem to be necessary to improve access to diagnosis and treatment of CHD in the area of Barcelona. They also show which strategy is the most appropriate based on the detected needs of the community, the proposed objectives of the intervention, and the given socio-temporal context.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chagas Disease / epidemiology*
  • Chagas Disease / genetics
  • Chagas Disease / pathology
  • Community Medicine
  • Emigrants and Immigrants*
  • Family
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino / genetics
  • Humans
  • Latin America / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Spain / epidemiology