On 23 February, The Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Margaret Chan has arrived in Brazil for high-level meetings with President Dilma Rousseff, accompanied by the Director of the Pan American Health Organization and Regional Director of the WHO in the Americas, Dr. Carissa Etienne.
The Brazilian government has released an online training program to improve the capacity of health personnel in treating ZIKAV-related diseases. In only 3 days, over 8,000 people have submitted their inscriptions. The course load is 45h and it is designed for doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and other primary healthcare personnel.
According to the Brazilian Ministry of Health, 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 President Dilma Rousseff launched a national plan of action to combat this virus in December 2015. 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 (BCO), in an effort to provide support and in response to a request for assistance, 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, 27.4 million properties (41% of the total goal of 67 million) were visited by health and/or military personnel. Over 80% of all target municipalities have already started local cleaning initiatives. From 19 February to 04 March, government is implementing the fourth phase of the plan whereby military and/or health personnel will also visit education facilities instructing students with prevention messages. On 23 February, The Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Margaret Chan arrived in Brazil for high-level meetings with President Dilma Rousseff, accompanied by the Director of the Pan American Health Organization and Regional Director of the WHO in the Americas, Dr. Carissa Etienne. The invitation was sent by the Brazilian government in order to present in depth the policies of the response to the health emergency and the results of researches carried out by Brazil. It is also an opportunity to deepen the dialogue on global efforts, coordinated by the WHO, of surveillance, response and research to deal with the emergency.