Identifying Barriers and Facilitators for Home Reconstruction for Prevention of Chagas Disease: An Interview Study in Rural Loja Province, Ecuador

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Background: Chagas disease (CD) is a tropical parasitic disease spread by triatomine bugs, which are bugs that tend to infest precarious housing in rural and impoverished areas. Reducing exposure to the bugs, and thus the parasite they can carry, is essential to preventing CD in these areas. One promising long-term sustainable solution is to reconstruct precarious houses. Implementing home reconstruction requires an understanding of how householders construct barriers and facilitators they might encounter when considering whether to rebuild their homes. Methods: To understand barriers and facilitators to home reconstruction, we performed in-depth qualitative interviews with 33 residents of Canton Calvas, Loja, Ecuador, a high-risk endemic region. Thematic analysis was used to identify these barriers and facilitators. Results: The thematic analysis identified three facilitators (project facilitators, social facilitators, and economic facilitators) and two major barriers (low personal economy and extensive deterioration of existing homes). Conclusions: The study findings provide important loci for assisting community members and for agents of change in home reconstruction projects to prevent CD. Specifically, the project and social facilitators suggest that collective community efforts (minga) are more likely to support home reconstruction intentions than individualist efforts, while the barriers suggest that addressing structural issues of economy and affordability are necessary.