The Zika Virus outbreak and spread is generating daily stories, advisories, and findings, as well as requests from Direct Relief’s partners in Zika-affected countries. As this outbreak has unfolded, Direct Relief has been in close contact with partners in 14 Zika-affected countries, including leading emergency response staff at national and state associations and health centers and clinics across the U.S.
Direct Relief has already responded to several requests for assistance related to the Zika virus and anticipates further requests. In addition, Direct Relief has committed $100,000 of internal funds and created a specific Zika fund to which contributions may be designated to boost support for partners in Zika-affected countries that are stepping up preventive measures generally and maternal and child health clinical services specifically.
Neither Direct Relief nor the partners requesting help had anticipated or budgeted for Zika-related activities, so Direct Relief’s commitment of internal funds ensure that important efforts to get in front of a problem and public health concern that is clearly expanding are funded.
No Zika vaccine yet exists—the response to the Zika outbreak and spread involves stepped-up public health efforts, including vector control of mosquitoes, public awareness, staff training, and development of treatment protocols. The outbreak has also led to expanded demand for family planning-related commodities in response to the risks on fetal development and pregnancy advisories.
Zika funds will be used to boost support to partner organizations providing care in Zika-affected areas in the U.S., as well as Haiti, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Colombia, Peru, Paraguay, Guyana, and Argentina, including:
- Maternal and child health: Providing and pre- and postnatal resources needed for safe deliveries and to support care for newborns.
- Prevention and treatment supplies: Distributing requested supplies including insect repellent, IV solutions, medications for fever reduction and pain relief, and contraceptives.
- Support for health facilities: Delivering medical resources to healthcare providers that serve low-income communities, to alleviate the strain on these facilities caused by the surge in patients.
- Data Analysis: Direct Relief has developed an online map to consolidate and share the most current reports from Direct Relief’s partners in affected areas, as well as information published by the World Health Organization and other governmental and nongovernmental public health agencies.
As this situation continues to unfold, the Direct Relief team will maintain current information on the Zika Virus and the organization’s response at directrelief.org/emergency/zika-virus.