Photo by Dr. Karen Orellana

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 the Zika virus epidemic emergency response, ASSIST is providing intensive assistance to the Ministry of Health in five countries – the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Activities supported include: conducting a baseline assessment of the quality of Zika-related care, revising Zika-related clinical guidelines, training health care providers on counseling skills, improving Zika-related clinical processes, conducting face-to-face and virtual courses on Zika-related health care, implementing a Zika quality improvement program, and cultivating a Zika community of practice to rapidly scale up learning across all affected countries.

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

Proveedores de salud frente al Síndrome Congénito del Zika

Felicia Girón

Technical Advisor, El Salvador, USAID ASSIST Project

(Una doctora platica con una nueva madre sobre Zika. Foto por Mélida Chaguaceda.)

In English

Health workers come face-to-face with Zika Congenital Syndrome

Felicia Girón

Technical Advisor, El Salvador, USAID ASSIST Project

Translation by: Vicky Ramirez

(A doctor speaks with a new mother about Zika. Photo by Mélida Chaguaceda)

En español

SEMINARIO WEB: Tamizaje del síndrome congénito fetal en el recién nacido


La Infección por el Virus del Zika durante el embarazo puede repercutir en el feto ocasionando múltiples problemas que se resumen en el llamado Síndrome Congénito del Recién Nacido.

What we learned this Valentine’s Day

Vicky Ramirez

Consultant, USAID ASSIST Project/URC

K4Health & IPPF Host Tweet Chat on the Sexual Transmission of the Zika Virus

7 Powerful Tools to Improve Care

Vicky Ramirez

Consultant, USAID ASSIST Project/URC

After the “oohs” and “ahhs” at our Quarterly Review Meeting, we had to share our secret sauce for improving care. This multi-faceted list contains powerful resources being used right now to improve health care in 30 countries.

10 Things we learned at the last quarterly review meeting

Vicky Ramirez

Consultant, USAID ASSIST Project/URC

Every quarter, USAID ASSIST staff organizes a quarterly review meeting, commonly known to those in attendance, as the QRM. By definition, the meeting is a report-out to our donor, USAID. However, it has become a leading example of how health care quality improvement (QI) is done in low-resource settings. This year, we heard examples of QI from 30 ASSIST-supported countries.

El uso de anticonceptivos reversibles de larga duración para planificación familiar en el contexto de la epidemia Zika



La Organización Mundial de la Salud ha declarado que el virus de Zika es una emergencia global de salud pública y los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades (CDC) concluyeron que el virus de Zika puede causar microcefalia y otros defectos cerebrales en los fetos. 

USAID ASSIST to host Zika eLearning course for public health providers

San Salvador, El Salvador - The USAID Applying Science to Strengthen and Improve Systems (ASSIST) Project, financed by USAID, will host an eLearning course on Zika for public health providers. The course will commence on January 23, 2017 and will bring together 250 professionals from the Ministry of Health and Social Security of El Salvador.

Proyecto ASSIST-Zika organiza el “Curso Virtual Zika" para proveedores de servicios de salud

San Salvador, El Salvador - El Proyecto ASSIST (Aplicando la Ciencia para Fortalecer y Mejorar los Sistemas de Salud), financiado por la USAID, organiza el “Curso Virtual Zika" para proveedores de servicios de salud, a realizarse a partir del 23 de enero 2017, con participación de 250 profesionales del Ministerio de Salud y de la Seguridad Social de la República de El Salvador.

Guía de Consejería: Consejería preconcepcional, prenatal y postparto en el contexto de la epidemia de Zika

This Spanish language counseling guide focuses on family planning, prenatal and post-partum care in the context of Zika. Based on national and international counseling norms, it has been designed specifically to assist health care practitioners who provide care to women of reproductive age in the regions affected by the Zika virus.