The Healthy Living Project is a long-term initiative that aims to support the socioeconomic development of rural communities affected by Chagas disease in the province of Loja in southern Ecuador. With a holistic approach, this public health strategy looks to prevent the transmission of Chagas and other diseases “associated with poverty” by facilitating participatory processes of human development that are sustainable and sustained by the people involved.
The Healthy Living Initiative is actually working in Southern Ecuador, specifically with the communities of Guara, Bella Maria, and Chaquizhca, in Calvas County, Loja province. All of these communities were highly affected by the presence of chinchorros (insect vectors of Chagas disease).
Over the last 10 years, Dr. Grijalva, Director of Tropical Disease Institute at Ohio University, has been working constantly on the initiative against Chagas disease as well as Healthy Living project, which include the organization of study aboard program for students of multidisciplinary backgrounds. There have been hundreds of students coming to Loja province and working on the field with the communities in both scientific and social researches. The project has been so far involving with six components of health, security, housing, education, and economic development. The comprehensive and community-involved perspectives are the main factors contributing to the effectiveness and exhaustiveness of the project.