Through the 2016 declared outbreak of Zika, the bite of an infected Aedes Aegypti and Aedes Albopictus mosquito grew even more hazardous. These same Aedes mosquitoes that transmit Zika also transmit dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever, diseases that affect all segments of society but with particular impact on the poorest and most vulnerable. Diseases caused by the Aedes mosquitoes result in hundreds of thousands of deaths each year – deaths which are largely preventable by eliminating mosquito breeding sites and interrupting human-to-mosquito contact.
In the battle against diseases like Zika and dengue, knowledge is power. Climate change is shifting the distribution of mosquitoes and to new areas. Empowering communities is essential in reaching and protecting the most vulnerable individuals and households. Vector control programmes, community empowerment and awareness campaigns are proven strategies to reduce the burden of vector-borne diseases.
Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers can play a key role in community and school outreach activities for Zika, dengue and chikungunya prevention. These community-based activities need to be sustained to ensure long-lasting disease control.
The Zika, dengue and chikungunya prevention modules and toolkit were developed to initiate a long-term engagement with the communities at risk through awareness and health promotion materials. National Societies and organizations at community level can contribute to sustained improvement of sanitation, reduction of mosquito breeding sites and increased level of knowledge on how to protect the community from mosquito-borne diseases such as Zika, dengue and chikungunya.
It is our hope that these materials will start the necessary conversations with communities and school communities to recognise that prevention is the best weapon in the battle against the threats posed by Aedes mosquitoes. We invite all partners within and outside the Movement to adapt and use these materials to empower your communities with the knowledge, skills and behaviour necessary to reduce vectorborne disease transmission for healthier and happier communities.
The Zika, dengue and chikungunya prevention school / youth module is intended for volunteers, educators, and peer educators teaching children from ages 7 - 16 in a school or youth club setting about the transmission, symptoms, treatment and prevention methods to address Zika, dengue and chikungunya (ZDC). The school / youth module is comprised of 5 topics which should be taught in sequential order. The included tools, talking points and activities allows children to learn in an interactive way about how ZDC is transmitted, how to prevent mosquito bites and reduce mosquito populations through collective school community action and social and behavior change techniques as well as what to do if a child suspects that s/he or a family member thinks they may have contracted Zika, dengue or chikungunya. The materials also address stigma associated with ZDC and help to set a supportive environment for preventing disease as a collective group through ongoing school community action.