Honduras, January 2009
Many of the inhabitants of Olancho, Honduras are rural poor and live in poorly constructed housing made of material that puts them at risk for Chagas Disease. As an MPH student, Derek Sedlacek was able to travel to the area, with funding support from Alumni Giving, to learn more about this neglected tropical disease and to evaluate the Ministry of Health's Chagas Project.
Olancho is located in the western part of Honduras and is the the largest department in the country. As a Peace Corps Volunteer in the area from 2006-2008, Derek had already worked with many individuals from the Regional Department of Health of Olancho involved in the Chagas program. While in Olancho in January 2009, Derek met with several people involved with the Chagas Project at the departmental level and with individuals working in the field and in the communities affected by this disease. While in the communities, data was collected about the materials of housing, presence of domestic animals, and basic information about utilities. Houses, schools, and churches in the communities were also mapped with GIS. Data from this project will be sent back to Honduras to be used by health promoters for their surveillance efforts. Derek's trip to Honduras was a tremendous opportunity for him to gain valuable insight into the life cycle of the parasite as well as the conditions that put people at risk for infection.