Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12105/8905
The role of the first level of health care in the approach to Chagas disease in a non-endemic country
PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2019 Dec 16;13(12):e0007937.
BACKGROUND: Chagas disease has crossed South America's borders and in recent years has spread to regions that were not previously affected. Early diagnosis and treatment of Chagas disease improves the clinical prognosis and prevents vertical transmission. Taking into account the lack of evidence of how primary care services manage Chagas disease in a non-endemic country, this study assessed Chagas disease knowledge, attitudes and practices among primary health care professionals. METHODS AND PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Between 2017 and 2019, eight focus groups were formed with 41 family physicians and 40 nurses from healthcare centers in Madrid, Spain, and 70 field notes were collected during non-participant observation. The family physicians and nurses showed a lack of general knowledge about Chagas disease, and they did not identify the country of origin to request the blood test. The family physicians and nurses thought that the population did not talk broadly about Chagas disease because of the stigma or shame. The role of nurses was more focused on vaccination status and chronic disease follow-up, and family physicians assumed a facilitating role to send patients to different hospital facilities. Communication between primary care professionals and the hospital is a barrier frequently experienced by family physicians. CONCLUSIONS: The diagnosis of CD in non-endemic countries continues being an important challenge for health systems. The results obtained with the study of the knowledge, attitudes and practices at primary care through a qualitative approach allows to obtain evidence that could help to develop strategies for the screening of CD in a protocolized way in order to avoid that the diagnosis depends exclusively on the request of the patient.
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