Long-Standing International Cooperation in Parasitology Research: A Summary of 35 Years of Activities in the Bolivian Chaco
The Bolivian Chaco is a semiarid region with a low population density, situated in the southeast part of the Plurinational State of Bolivia. Here, despite the improvements of the last 15 years, poverty remains high in rural areas, where social vulnerability is widespread. The Guaraní ethnic group often lives in isolated communities with a low standard of hygiene and sanitation. This epidemiological scenario favors the spread of transmissible diseases, including several parasitic infections belonging to the neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) group. In this area, a long-standing research activity, built upon the synergism between local and foreign institutions, has been established since the late 1980s and helps to fill in the knowledge gap about the epidemiology dynamics of soil-transmitted helminths, vector-borne parasites, and other parasitic diseases. A 35-year history of cooperation programs in parasitology research has contributed to informing local health authorities of the NTD burden in the Bolivian Chaco and, ultimately, supports local healthcare providers in the management of parasitic diseases.