Zika

The recent emergence and rapid spread of the Zika virus presents a grave, new challenge for health systems and practitioners across the Zika-affected regions, as they work to address the unique health needs and concerns of individuals and families affected by the epidemic.

Zika is spread primarily through the Aedes mosquito – the same species of mosquito that spreads dengue and chikungunya – but the virus can also be transmitted via sexual contact. Common symptoms of Zika for an otherwise healthy adult include mild fever, skin rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise or headache, lasting up to a week.However, most concerning for health workers is that Zika is passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus during pregnancy.

While the symptoms for an adult are mild, Zika infection during pregnancy can have grave consequences for the growing fetus. Zika infection during pregnancy has been linked to an increase in birth defects across the Zika-affected regions, particularly a serious birth defect called microcephaly, which results in unusually small heads and brain damage in newborns.

As part of USAID’s Zika response, ASSIST has been implementing health systems strengthening efforts in Latin America and the Caribbean to provide targeted support to health systems affected by the Zika virus. ASSIST is working to improve the capacity of Zika-related health services to deliver consistent, evidence-based, respectful, high-quality care—with a focus on pregnant women, newborns, and women of reproductive age.

To learn more about our work improving care in Zika, read this overview and explore our Zika resources and publications below.

In addition to the resources provided here, ASSIST maintains a website in Spanish with exclusively Zika-related content: www.maternoinfantil.org/zika.

Gender integration in Zika response at medical and nursing schools in Nicaragua

Ivonne Gómez Pasquier

Chief of Party, Nicaragua, USAID ASSIST/URC

Elga Salvador

WI-HER/ Senior Gender Advisor

By: Ivonne Gómez, Chief of Party ASSIST Nicaragua and Elga Salvador, Senior Gender Advisor for WI-HER, LLC

Working Together: A Regional Approach to Improving Skin-to-Skin Contact and Well-baby Care in the Eastern and Southern Caribbean

Morgan Mickle

WI-HER, LLC

By Morgan Mickle, Gender Specialist, WI-HER, LLC

“A third of low birth weight babies die within the first twelve hours after delivery, largely because they get cold very quickly, causing them to stop feeding and leaving them more susceptible to infection.” – Maternal and Child Survival Program (1)

Ideas de cambio con perspectiva de género se destacan entre las principales buenas prácticas en la atención prenatal en el contexto del Zika en la República Dominicana

Elga Salvador

WI-HER/ Senior Gender Advisor

Por Elga Salvador, asesora en género senior, WI-HER, LLC

El 10 de abril 2019, el equipo del Proyecto de USAID Aplicando la Ciencia para Fortalecer y Mejorar los Sistemas de Salud (ASSIST) de la República Dominicana llevó a cabo la Segunda Sesión de Aprendizaje de Equipos de Mejora de la Calidad del Colaborativo de Atención Prenatal, integrado por el personal de salud y autoridades de hospitales de distintas regiones de salud del país. 

Gender integration strategies stand out among the best practices in prenatal care in the context of Zika in the Dominican Republic

Elga Salvador

WI-HER/ Senior Gender Advisor

By Elga Salvador, Senior Gender Technical Advisor, WI-HER, LLC

On April 10, the USAID-funded Applying Science to Strengthen and Improve Health Systems (ASSIST) Project held the second “Learning Session” with the Quality Improvement (QI) teams of the Prenatal Care Collaborative in the Dominican Republic. This Collaborative is implemented by health authorities and staff from hospitals located in different regions throughout the country.

Adolescentes embarazadas y las barreras que enfrentan para prevenir el zika

Elga Salvador

WI-HER/ Senior Gender Advisor

Por: Elga Salvador

El Hospital Universitario Maternidad Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia (HUMNSA) fue escenario del primer nacimiento del 2019 en la República Dominicana; el mismo día el mismo hospital cuenta con otros récords: registra el primer niño a nacer en el año por el sexto año consecutivo y cuenta la tercera adolescente como madre del primer bebé a nacer [1,2]. Esto tal vez ya no cause asombro en un país donde desde el 1996 nunca se ha registrado un porcentaje de embarazo en la adolescencia inferior al 20% [3].

Adolescent Pregnancy and Barriers to Zika Prevention

Elga Salvador

WI-HER/ Senior Gender Advisor

By: Elga Salvador

The maternity hospital, Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia, holds the record of the first birth of 2019 in the Dominican Republic for the sixth consecutive year. On the same day, the same hospital also holds another record: this is the third year in which the first baby was born to an adolescent mother [1,2]. This is no longer a surprise in a country where the percentage of pregnancy in adolescents has never been lower than 20% in the last 23 years [3].

Ecuador y el machismo como barrera para prevenir el Zika. Combatirlo es una ganancia para todos, no solo para las mujeres

Elga Salvador

WI-HER/ Senior Gender Advisor

Por: Elga Salvador

Por el machismo’ ha sido el leitmotiv que ha emergido de todas las consultas y entrevistas realizadas por WI-HER en los diferentes países de América Latina y el Caribe dirigidas a identificar obstáculos a la prevención de la transmisión sexual del Zika [1,2],  en el marco del Proyecto de USAID, Aplicando la Ciencia para Fortalecer y Mejorar los Sistemas de Salud (ASSIST).

Machismo as a barrier to prevent Zika in Ecuador: Fighting it is a win for all, not only for women

Elga Salvador

WI-HER/ Senior Gender Advisor

By: Elga Salvador

Por el machismo” (because of machismo) has been a constant theme in the focus groups, interviews, and training conducted by WI-HER throughout Latin America and the Caribbean aimed at identifying obstacles to the prevention of sexual transmission of Zika [1,2], under USAID’s Applying Science to Strengthen and Improve Health Systems (ASSIST) Project.

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