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.

Zika, Condom Negotiation, and Gender-Based Violence in Latin America

Elga Salvador

WI-HER/ Senior Gender Advisor

Tisa Barrios Wilson

WI-HER/Gender Specialist

"The women say, 'I understand', they take the condoms from their antenatal care appointment, but they never tell their partners for fear of how they will react. They prefer to be silent … and there is a risk that the pregnant women will be hit." (Health Provider, Zacapa, Guatemala)

Zika, negociación de condones y violencia de género en América Latina

Elga Salvador

WI-HER/ Senior Gender Advisor

Tisa Barrios Wilson

WI-HER/Gender Specialist

“Dicen ‘Entiendo’, se lo llevan, pero nunca se los proponen por miedo a como va a reaccionar. Prefieren callar. El esposo ni siquiera se entera … y hay el riesgo que se golpeen las mujeres embarazadas.”  (Proveedor de salud, Zacapa, Guatemala)

Co-responsibility: Male Involvement in Antenatal Care in Zika Prevention

Elga Salvador

WI-HER/ Senior Gender Advisor

Tisa Barrios Wilson

WI-HER/Gender Specialist

In many low and middle-income countries (LMICs), men are the primary providers and key decision-makers in the family, often determining women's access to economic resources and restricting women’s ability to make choices about their health and children’s health.1 Since many health systems require out-of-pocket payments, this practice can limit women's access to maternal health services and obstetric care, which are essential to Zika prevention and overall maternal, newborn, and child health (MNCH) (1).

Corresponsabilidad: participación masculina en la atención prenatal para la prevención del Zika

Elga Salvador

WI-HER/ Senior Gender Advisor

Tisa Barrios Wilson

WI-HER/Gender Specialist

En muchos países de ingresos bajos y medios, los hombres son los principales proveedores y los principales responsables de la toma de decisiones en la familia, determinando el acceso de las mujeres a los recursos económicos y restringiendo la capacidad de las mujeres de tomar decisiones sobre su salud y la salud de los niños (1) Muchos sistemas de salud requieren pagos de bolsillo, esta práctica puede limitar el acceso de las mujeres a los servicios de salud materna y obstétrica, que son esenciales para la prevención del Zika y la salud general de la madre, el recién nacido y el niño (1).

USAID ASSIST Project Annual Performance Monitoring Report FY18

University Research Co., LLC (URC) and its partners have completed six years of implementation of theUSAID Applying Science to Strengthen and Improve Systems (ASSIST) Project. This report is the sixth Annual Performance Monitoring Report...

Tips for Design and Facilitation of Learning Sessions in the Context of Collaborative Improvement of Zika-related Services

This guide was prepared to support country teams of the USAID Applying Science to Strengthen and Improve Systems (ASSIST) Project in designing and conducting effective learning sessions as part of quality improvement collaboratives for...

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