In Comapa, Guatemala, a project initiated by the Entomology and Parasitology Laboratory of the University of San Carlos identified risk factors that led to the infestation of houses by the vector that transmits Chagas disease. Three of these factors were associated with the quality of floors and walls, and the presence of animals inside homes. The program worked with the community to determine the best way of filling the cracks where the vectors can lodge, using locally available materials and employing techniques culturally appropriate to the community. The project also sought to increase awareness about the health hazards associated with this disease. Community leaders were trained on how to improve their own homes and implement healthy ways of managing their animals.
This project led to positive changes in the community, in terms of both culture and behavior, thus increasing the ability to prevent Chagas disease. This ecohealth approach has been replicated in other Central American countries.