Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública
Print version ISSN 1020-4989
GUTHMANN, J. P. et al. Patients' associations and the control of leishmaniasis in Peru. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 1998, vol.3, n.6, pp. 400-404. ISSN 1020-4989. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49891998000600006.
American mucocutaneous leishmaniasis is an important health problem in Peru, particularly in the mountainous Cuzco Region, where 25% of all new cases reported in 1989 were located. Cases have increased considerably since the beginning of the 1980s, when large-scale seasonal migration to endemic zones occurred, particularly in the forest area of Madre de Dios, following the discovery of new gold deposits there and the deterioration in the economic situation in Peru. Following the lack of official response from the Peruvian government, hundreds of people suffering from leishmaniasis in the Cuzco area formed self-help associations with the objective of obtaining the drugs needed to treat their disease. The major achievement of this spontaneous movement, which was supported by several public and private institutions, was to encourage sick people, particularly patients with mucosal lesions, to emerge from isolation. As a result, the prevalence and incidence of the disease have now considerably decreased in the region.