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Making a World of Difference in Mexico

Mérida • Yucatán • Mexico • August 24–26, 2018 Contributed by: Rhonda Price, ASE Chief Standards Officer and International Relations Specialist Benefits from the development of ASE’s International Alliance Partners program include increased opportunities and trusted collaborators for efforts outside the United States. The Project Chagas ASE Foundation (ASEF) global health outreach event that took place August 24-26 in Mérida, the capital city of the Yucatán state in Mexico, is a perfect example of this kind of partnership. Dr. Federico Asch, co-chair of ASE’s recent guideline document on Chagas Disease and participant in ASEF’s global outreach events in Argentina and Cuba, as well as multiple other leadership roles, and Dr. Pedro Gutiérrez Fajardo, a long-time ASE member from Mexico and current President of the Mexican National Association of Cardiology (ANCAM), saw an opportunity for a multi-partner collaboration that could have a long-term impact in the prevention of heart failure for individuals with Chagas positive serology.

The leaders also recognized the need for advanced equipment that could do 2D, 3D, and strain echocardiography. Philips Mexico agreed to provide the equipment support, and their early commitment was instrumental in getting the project proposal approved by the ASE Foundation. As the planning developed, the three leaders saw an opportunity for the project’s impact to extend well beyond the patients they would examine during a three-day time period at General Hospital Agustin O’Horan. To have a lasting impact and extend the reach of their efforts, they needed the support and recognition from local and national government officials. And so the phone calls began…first to professional contacts and family members who could open doors for connections with the right people, and finally the important conference call with the Health Secretary, resulting in advance and on-site participation by state and national health services.

Project Chagas was organized to focus on pre-identified patients diagnosed with Chagas disease, to investigate the prevalence “Collaboration was at the of Chagas cardiomyopathy, core of this altruistic work,” detect individuals previsaid Dr. Asch. “Yucatán and ously undiagnosed, and National Health Services connect them with local provided the opportunity cardiologists who would to identify patients with provide proper cardiac “It was a most amazing collaboration from Chagas positive serolocare within the regional gy, contact them in their local to international volunteers, from public system. To make rural communities, and societies to industry and health services, and this happen, Drs. Asch bring them to the hoseverybody contributed with his/her best.” and Gutiérrez Fajardo repital in Mérida. Hospital —Dr. Pedro Gutiérrez Fajardo, Team Leader O’Horan and the State of cruited Dra. Hilda Peralta, a cardiologist within the Yucatán Government propublic health system in Mérida, to lead the local efforts. The vided the facilities, organization, and local personnel. Philips Yucatán state has a high prevalence of Chagas disease, and Mexico provided top-of-the-line echo and ECG technologies Dra. Peralta is widely known for her ability to make (good) and technical support. Fifteen physician and sonographer things happen.

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