I get by with a little help from my friends

Posted on September 18, 2010

Dear friends,

I am asking for your help with a good cause. My research focuses on tuberculosis in poor, indigenous communities of rural Paraguay.  The fight against tuberculosis is aggressively supported by the international community, in the form of national Stop TB programs which provide free diagnosis and treatment to TB patients.  But there are other, neglected diseases in these communities that go undiagnosed and untreated.  One of these is helminthiasis.

Helminthiasis is an infestation with one or more intestinal parasitic worms, such as roundworms (Ascaris lumbricoides), whipworms (Trichuris trichiura), or hookworms (Necator americanus and Ancylostoma duodenale).  Worm infestations are the most common infections worldwide and affect the poorest communities.  Worm infestations cause anemia, malnutrition, and impaired cognitive function.  Having a worm infestation puts a person at greater risk of developing other infectious diseases.  You could think of them as a ‘gateway infection’ to further social and health problems.

As part of my study, I am screening 200 people for helminthiasis (which is known to make a person more susceptible to active tuberculosis).  Although the government of Paraguay is legally obligated to give free treatment to indigenous persons, this is not what happens in practice.  With this in mind, I would like to ask your help in raising money to provide free treatment to the participants in my study.

Edit: NEVERMIND!!!  I’ve found some amazing in-country collaborators who offered to provide free treatment to our study participants.  :)

More later…

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