Though little known in the rest of the world, Chagas disease is far and away Latin America’s deadliest parasitic disease, affecting 10 million people worldwide. The disease spread by the bite of the so-called “kissing bug,” Chagas can lie undetected for years before it causes severe heart and gastrointestinal problem that can ultimately kill those who do not receive treatment.
Only two drugs are available to treat the disease, both developed over 40 years ago and not specifically for Chagas. It is possible to both diagnose and treat Chagas, but in too many cases, people living in the isolated regions where the disease proliferates cannot access the care and testing they need to protect themselves.
Since 1999, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has been working with Chagas patients in numerous countries and advocating for more targeted research and development, along with more aggressive national health policies. VII Photo’s Seamus Murphy visited Paraguay to document the impact of Chagas, examining the causes and the consequences of a disease that has been known, for too long, as the “silent killer.”
Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), VII Photo, and UNION HZ present FATAL NEGLECT, a six-part documentary film project, that tells the stories of millions of patients left behind by the global health revolution.
In Fatal Neglect: The Global Health Revolution’s Forgotten Patients, VII photographers Seamus Murphy, Venetia Dearden, Ron Haviv, and John Stanmeyer document the impact of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, the three deadliest neglected tropical diseases—(visceral leishmaniasis (kala azar), Human African Trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), and Chagas—and vaccine-preventable diseases.
The award-winning photojournalists traveled to Mali, Paraguay, South Sudan, and Tajikistan to capture the stories of frontline health workers trying to fight diseases that affect millions of people and kill hundreds of thousands each year yet garner little attention from drug developers, policy makers, or the mass media.