Bahia, Brazil

Bahia is the fourth largest Brazilian state in the north-eastern part of the country (population ~ 15 million) where Portuguese is the official language. Religion in Bahia is a syncretic mix of Catholicism, Pentecostal Christianity, and the Afro-Brazilian Candomblé religious tradition. A rich Afro-Brazilian cultural tradition exists in Bahia, since its capital, Salvador, is the city with the largest Black population in Brazil, due to a colonial history marked by the slave trade which was concentrated in Bahian ports.

Brazil has one of the highest global incidence rates for CL. The state of Bahia was recently identified as an intensifying hotspot for CL. We set up four ECLIPSE hubs spread across three neighbouring municipalities, located in primarily rural and semi-rural areas. Agriculture is the main economic mode of production, most particularly cocoa and banana cultivation.

There is a regional reference centre for CL in one of the Bahian communities we are working in. Founded in 1986, it serves the surrounding 16 municipalities in Southeast Bahia, covering a large catchment area (100 km2) with a population of 450,000 inhabitants. The team of researchers and physicians from the Immunology Service at the Federal University of Bahia have assisted more than 35,000 patients throughout its history. Dr Paulo Machado, ECLIPSE Brazil co-lead, is one of the dermatologists who works at the centre.