UNICEF Brazil (BCO) has trained 1,132 people (approximately half of them adolescents) of 345 municipalities in the semiarid region of Brazil. This initiative is part of the new strategic action to reduce breeding grounds that is planned for municipalities under UNICEF’s Seal platform.
In total, over 41 million properties were already visited by government staff (62% of the total goal). More than 88% of municipalities (4,901 out of 5,570) have received visits over the past months. Breeding grounds were found in 1.3 million properties, representing 3,3% of total already visited. Government’s goal is to reduce this infestation rate for less than 1%.
According to the Brazilian Ministry of Health (MoH), there has been a sharp increase in the number of cases of microcephaly, related to the ZIKV among newborns in Brazil starting in October 2015 mainly in the northeast region. The Federal Government of Brazil has identified this issue as a priority, and in December 2015, President Dilma Rousseff launched a national plan of action to combat this virus. Various ministries and governmental organizations including the police, army, firefighters and others, have been mobilized under the leadership of the Ministry of Health to support various activities related to prevention, communication, monitoring, capacity building, among others.
The National Plan is currently in its fourth phase until 04 March. UNICEF Brazil, in an effort to provide support and in response to a request for assistance from government, has developed a proposal to support governmental efforts to address the epidemic. The action plan is based mainly on vector control using the existing network with the Brazilian municipalities.
Brazilian government response
Accordingly to the MoH, 41 million properties (62% of the total goal of 67 million) were visited by health and/or military personnel. Over 88% of all target municipalities have already started local cleaning initiatives. From 19 February to 04 March, government has been implementing the fourth phase of the plan whereby military and/or health personnel also visit education facilities instructing students with prevention messages. Brazilian research institutions continue their efforts to develop rapid tests and new strategies to reduce mosquitos breeding grounds and their proliferation rates. The MoH has started mapping the assistance and services offered for babies with microcephaly. 180 call attendants are working to contact the families of all registered cases in order to follow their routine exams and adequate treatment in the public health facilities.