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The "Solidarity Dermatology" award sponsored by Laboratorios Viñas goes to a project for the control and prevention of cutaneous leishmaniasis in Bolivia


The Spanish Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (AEDV) held the 49th National Congress of Dermatology in Malaga from 1 to 4 JuneThe largest Spanish scientific meeting on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of skin diseases was attended by more than 1,800 dermatologists. A total of 335 professionals from all over Spain gave 100 scientific sessions on the latest developments in dermatology and venereology.

Once again, it was the perfect platform for the Fundación Piel Sana to grant funding to promote and finance solidarity projects to improve dermatological health in disadvantaged areas of the world.

For yet another year, Laboratorios Viñas  participated by providing the highest prize, which was delivered during the Solidarity Gala DinnerThis time, the “Solidarity Dermatology” award went to the “Project for the control and prevention of cutaneous leishmaniasis in the Bolivian Amazon jungle” promoted by the NGO Solidaridad Médica España, which has been working for years in this part of South America. The award was accepted by Ana de la Torre, medical director of Solidaridad Médica España.

Prevention and control of a neglected disease in Bolivia

In Bolivia, all the families of the indigenous communities live in poverty, are extremely vulnerable, are unable to access basic health services, and receive no support from national institutions. Likewise, COVID-19, a pandemic that has not yet ended but it still waning, has had an impact on the endemic diseases of the Bolivian jungle, an area where people have difficulties accessing specific health services and with high morbidity and mortality rates.

This is the case of leishmaniasis, a skin disease associated with poverty and marginalisation and, therefore, forgotten and neglected, with a prevalence of 20% in these indigenous communities. The disease also aggravates public health problems.

Solidaridad Médica Bolivia, an NGO has been working in the field since 2003, and is considered a benchmark within the indigenous communities, which endorse and authorise its work, won this year's "Solidarity Dermatology" award for its "Project for the control and prevention of cutaneous leishmaniasis in the Bolivian Amazon jungle”, designed to address the demands of the beneficiaries themselves, listening to their voices, and local authorities.

Leishmaniasis is a mosquito-borne disease and, although it does not initially seem serious and usually presents as skin lesions, if it becomes complicated, it can lead to the much more serious mucocutaneous leishmaniasis. The incidence of the mucocutaneous disease is very high in this area. As the World Health Organisation (WHO)* points out, it affects the poorest populations on the planet, is associated with malnutrition, population displacement, poor housing conditions, weakened immune systems and a lack of resources.

The project addresses this endemic skin disease in this area of Bolivia with serious consequences for sufferers. It will be carried out by means of a patient care campaign  in a health centre (La Pascana). Its objectives, identified by the beneficiaries, are:

This campaign has two lines of action:


• Patients diagnosed with leishmaniasis, accompanied by relatives, will be transferred across the river with canoes to the health centre. They will be treated for a month with the appropriate medication. The traditions and lifestyles of indigenous communities will be maintained at all times.

• The local professionals who will participate in the campaign have specific dermatological training in the treatment of the disease and extensive experience working in campaigns of this type.  A specialised biochemist will be hired to diagnose leishmaniasis (analyse ulcers).


• Informative talks will be given about leishmaniasis to raise awareness of the importance of adopting preventive measures, such as the use of mosquito nets at night and wearing long-sleeved clothing to prevent mosquito bites from spreading the illness. Prevention is key to reducing the prevalence of the disease in indigenous territories.

It is an initiative aimed at the most disadvantaged sectors of the population who live in the most deprived areas of the country. The local authorities have committed to playing an active role in all phases of the project. It will therefore become part of local health control and public health strategies, such as the Departmental Programme for Surveillance and Control of Leishmaniasis of the Departmental Government of Beni.

Laboratorios Viñas and Fundación Piel Sana: an ongoing collaboration

The Fundación Piel Sana was created in 2007 by the Spanish Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, a 100-year-old medical society for Spanish dermatologists, which aims to promote the study of the skin and its diseases for the benefit of patients. It is a non-profit organisation whose mission is to carry out and support actions that improve dermatological health, either by producing and disseminating knowledge of the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease and better health preservation, or with specific actions.

This year, Laboratorios Viñas has once more collaborated by endorsing a project that helps to develop the most caring face of dermatology, an area in which the laboratory has always focused the majority of its efforts.

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