Brazil + 32 more

UNICEF LACRO Zika Virus Situation Report #9, 31 October 2016


Response Highlights

  • Preventing the spread of ZIKV (Zika Virus), reducing the impact of ZIKV and providing non-clinical Care & Support for children and families affected by ZIKV continue to be priorities for UNICEF. Responding in 32 countries and territories across Latin America and the Caribbean, UNICEF is working with governments, NGOS and other partners to respond to needs. There is a focus on the most at risk groups, namely pregnant women, women of child-bearing age and their partners, with adolescents being a another priority group that spans all of these.

  • Whilst UNICEF continues participating in global efforts aimed at finding a vaccine to ZIKV, in Latin America and the Caribbean, there has been a shift from funds and resources concentrating on preventing ZIKV and its impact (primarily through reducing mosquito breeding sites, personal protection and reducing unplanned pregnancies) to increasing the proportion of activity focusing on providing adequate non-clinical care & support systems for children with Congenital Zika Virus Syndrome (CZVS).

  • Risk perception of ZIKA remains low in many affected areas, particularly in areas where the mosquito and its associated diseases are seen as a normal part of life. The time-lag for ZIKV’s affects to be felt (i.e. when infected babies are born or fail to develop as anticipated) is a further reason why risk perception, and therefore adoption of prevention practices, remain low. Communication for development (C4D) strategies are therefore a crucial part of UNICEF’s work, underpinned by qualitative and quantitative research. These strategies will also be adopted to tackle stigma and discrimination associated with children with CZVS.

  • The greatest and most urgent challenge is related to ensuring continuous funding given that UNICEF Response in LAC is extended until end of 2017.