The Andean Countries' Initiative (ACI) for controlling Chagas disease was officially created in 1997 within the framework of the Hipolito Unanue Agreement (UNANUE) between the Ministries of Health of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela. Its objective was to interrupt transmission via vector and transfusion in the region, taking into account that there are 12.5 million people at risk in the four Andean countries forming the initiative in the area and around 3 million people are infected by Trypanosoma cruzi
The progress of control activities for the vector species present in the Andean sub-region, for different reasons, has been slow and control interventions have still not been installed in all geographical areas occupied by the target species. This has been partly due to lack of knowledge about these vector populations' biological characteristics, and consequent uncertainty about which are the appropriate control measures and strategies to be implemented in the region. The main vector species present important similarities in Venezuela and Colombia and in Ecuador and Northern Peru and they can be approached in a similar way throughout the whole regions, basing approaches on and adapting them to the current strategies being developed in Venezuela during the 1960s which have been progressively adopted in the Southern Cone and Central-American region.
Additional measures are needed for keeping endemic areas free from Rhodnius prolixus silvatic populations, widely spread in the Orinoco region in Colombia and Venezuela.
Regarding aetiological treatment, it is worth mentioning that (with the exception of Colombia) none of the other countries forming the ACI have registered medicaments available for treating infected young people. There are no suitable follow-up programmes in the sub-region or for treating cases of congenital Chagas disease. An integral and integrated programme encompassing all the aspects including transmission by transfusion which seems to have achieved extremely encouraging results in all countries, are urgently needed.