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Revista da Sociedade Brasileira de Medicina Tropical
On-line version ISSN 1678-9849
ARAUJO, Silvana Marques de et al. The ACHEI Program: Chagas' Disease Awareness through Comprehensive Education in the Municipality of Maringá, Northwest Paraná, Brasil. Rev. Soc. Bras. Med. Trop. [online]. 2000, vol.33, n.6, pp.565-572. ISSN 1678-9849. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0037-86822000000600008.
This study analyzes 131 chagasic patients from different endemic areas that came to the Chagas' disease laboratory at the Maringa State University. The subjects discovered they were infected principally because they presented symptoms (58%) or donated blood (29.4%). During etiologic treatment for Trypanosoma cruzi, 45.2% of benznidazole users complained of side effects. Based on these data, the ACHEI program (Chagas' Disease Awareness through Comprehensive Education) was developed, which is a multiprofessional/interdisciplinary extension project. Monthly meetings are held that are divided into two parts: The first half of the meetings provide specific information, including the distribution of brochures explaining Chagas' disease transmission, symptoms and treatment. The second half of the meetings focuses on psycho-social assistance and includes topics such as self-esteem and personal responsibility. The meetings provide an environment for chagasic patients to share their concerns regarding post-diagnosis quality of life, fear, anxiety, stigma and family and social group relationships. In short, the meetings offer an opportunity for patients to reflect on their situation and to discover ways to deal with their disease.
Keywords : Chagas' disease awareness; Chagas' disease; Psycho-social assistance; Trypanosoma cruzi.