Created in 1987, the Association of Patients with Chagas disease, Heart Failure and Myocardiopathy of Pernambuco (APDCIM/PE), also known as Casa de Chagas, is the first in the world dedicated to Chagas patients, incentivized by the Chagas disease outpatient clinic, which once worked at the Oswaldo Cruz University Hospital of the University of Pernambuco, works as a coadjuvant of the Outpatient clinic, running actions with the participation of volunteers.
After creating the Chagas disease outpatient clinic at the Oswaldo Cruz University Hospital (HUOC) – UPE, the staff felt the need to expand, to stop limiting themselves to the strictly biomedical approach, and shifted to a more complete level of assistance involving full healthcare, provided by a multidisciplinary team. Today, this approach is scientifically proven to be the best option to handle chronic patients. Biopsychosocial care see people as a whole, their history, their family, as well as their socioeconomic context. For this purpose, a group of professionals was needed to help in the different aspects of a patient’s reality. This is how the Pernambuco Association of Chagas disease Patients was created, with the slogan “Committed to life”, the world’s first association of people with this disease. The outpatient clinic is responsible for the pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatment of Chagas disease, Chagas-caused and non-Chagas-related heart failure, in addition to forwarding and following patients with pacemaker and implantable cardioverter-defibrillator. By mid-2000, the activities of the outpatient clinic and of the association had reached way beyond the state of Pernambuco. In 2006, with the inauguration of the Prof. Luiz Tavares Cardiology Emergency Room of the University of Pernambuco – Procape, conceived and founded by professor Ênio Cantarelli, together with the increased number of paatients, especially those with pacemakers and implantable cardioverter-defibrillators.
The Association has been a source of inspiration for the creation of other similar associations in Brazil (in São Paulo, Campinas and Rio de Janeiro), and even abroad, in more than 14 countries in all 5 continents. In 2009, the Association and the Outpatient Clinic, with the support of Procape/UPE, promoted a meeting of Associations, in Olinda, culminating with the creation of the International Federation of Associations of People Affected by Chagas Disease (FINDECHAGAS).
The mission of the NGO is to provide care from the psychological and personal standpoints. Weekly meetings are held during which cardiologists, social workers, psychologists, nurses and nutritionists hear patients’ doubts and provide instructions on how they should behave regarding the treatment; patients can lead a normal life, if proper care is taken, but there are a few restrictions involved.