The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the Zika virus epidemic a “public health emergency of international concern,” and Hesperian is working to develop emergency health materials in multiple languages to reach the people who need them most.
We will be continually updating all these Zika resources as new information becomes available.
Because Zika seems to cause birth defects (microcephaly, or babies born with too small heads), it is more urgent than ever that women gain access to birth control and reproductive health information. Zika may also be linked to the autoimmune disease Guillain-Barré Syndrome, which can lead to muscle weakness, paralysis, or even death. The WHO estimates that 4 million people could be infected by this little-known virus by the end of the year.
Stopping Climate Change. As temperatures rise, mosquitoes are moving into new regions of the world where humans have little immunological resistance to the diseases they carry. To prevent the spread of Zika and other diseases, acting to reverse global warming is an urgent and obvious public health necessity.
Black Lives Matter. As Zika spreads throughout the hemisphere, including the US South, it will affect first and most intensely people living in poor housing, with limited public services that do not ensure streets free of potholes, free-flowing storm drains and irrigation ditches, safe water and sanitation, regular trash removal, clean vacant lots – all the conditions necessary to eliminate the small pools of standing water in which mosquitoes breed. Since predominantly African-American or Latino communities outside and inside the US receive fewer and lower quality services, their health will be more compromised than that of people in wealthier, whiter communities. Ending systemic racism, both in the US and in US foreign policy, is an urgent and obvious public health necessity.
Last updated March 3rd, 2016