Nicaragua praised for mobilisation to prevent Zika virus outbreak
News from Nicaragua | Tuesday, 26 January 2016 |
Panamerican Health Organisation (PHO) expert Guillermo Gonzalez, has praised Nicaragua’s model of family and community health for strengthening the country’s ability to prevent and control the Zika virus.
According to a BBC report of 25 January, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-35399403, the virus is spreading rapidly and has already reached 21 countries in the Caribbean, North America and Latin America. Although the virus is present in neighbouring countries - El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras - no cases have been detected in Nicaragua.
On Saturday, 23 January, the Nicaraguan Health Ministry (MINSA), organised a mobilisation day against epidemics in 2,446 communities reaching 250,000 people. The purpose of the day was to raise awareness among the population to enable them to destroy mosquito larvae to prevent not only an outbreak of zika and but the spread of other mosquito borne diseases such as dengue and chikunguña.
During the mobilisation, volunteer health promoters (known as brigadistas), also helped communities clear up rubbish and fumigate houses.
PHO representative, Socorro Gross, highlighted Nicaragua’s preparations over the past year, pointing out that the government’s plan is an integrated one that involves communities. ‘Citizen and community participation to eliminate larvae is one of the most important characteristics of Nicaragua’s approach, together with personnel well trained in diagnostics’. Gross stated.
Zika virus has been linked to thousands of babies being born with underdeveloped brains and some countries have advised women not to get pregnant. No treatment or vaccine is available.