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.

Improving the Health of Mothers, Newborns, Children, and Adolescents in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: Synthesis Report

Over its nearly eight years of implementation, the USAID Applying Science to Strengthen and Improve Systems (ASSIST) Project supported USAID's global Preventing Child and Maternal Deaths and Family Planning agendas by: Testing and...

Assessing changes in knowledge and factors influencing behavior related to Zika prevention among women receiving antenatal care in Latin America

The objectives of this study were to determine whether the quality improvement (QI) intervention supported by the USAID Applying Science to Strengthen and Improve Systems (ASSIST) Project was associated with a change in women’s knowledge...

USAID ASSIST Project FY20 Annual Performance Monitoring Report

University Research Co., LLC (URC) and its partners have completed almost eight years of implementation of the USAID Applying Science to Strengthen and Improve Systems (ASSIST) Project. This report is the 16 th and final Semi-Annual...

Collaborative Improvement of Care and Support for Children and Families Affected by Zika in Selected Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean

As part of the USAID response to the Zika virus epidemic in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), the USAID ASSIST Project applied quality improvement (QI) and collaborative learning methods to strengthen prenatal care, newborn care, and...

Latin America and Caribbean Zika Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes Evaluation

The USAID Applying Science to Strengthen and Improve Systems (ASSIST) Project created a Zika Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO) program in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) to connect a team of experts with local...

Using a Quality Improvement Approach to Strengthen Clinical Zika Services: Head Circumference Measurement and Provider Perceptions in Peru

Though rates of Zika infection are now declining, USAID, the international community, and country governments continue to respond to Zika infection in the Latin American and Caribbean Region. The USAID Applying Science to Strengthen and...

ENHANCING THE CONNECTIVITY AND CONFIDENCE OF HEALTHCARE OFFICERS IN JAMAICA THROUGH PROJECT ECHO

Project ECHO is a hub and spoke knowledge sharing programme that connects non-specialists with expert clinicians to enhance the quality of healthcare provided in low-resource settings. Using a “tele-mentoring” approach, Project ECHO...

Integrating Gender Considerations in the Zika Response: Activities of WI-HER, LLC on the USAID Applying Science to Strengthen and Improve Systems Project

Under ASSIST, WI-HER provided technical assistance to integrate and mainstream gender in Zika emergency response programs in affected Latin American and Caribbean countries. This included conducting gender assessments, gender integration...

Gender Issues Influencing Zika Response in Ecuador

After initial detection in Brazil in May 2015, the recent emergence of Zika virus rapidly swept across the Americas, with cases notified in Ecuador in early 2016. By February 2016, the World Health Organization declared Zika virus...

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