The Zika Virus is affecting at least 26 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. It was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the World Health Organization (WHO) given the suspected linkage to birth defects and potential to infect up to four million people in a year. UNICEF is scaling up its support using its network of 24 local offices. UNICEF is working to slow the virus' spread, mitigate its impact, and drive rapid diagnostics and vaccine development.
Since the Zika outbreak intensified in October, there has been a surge in Brazil of microcephaly - a congenital malformation where babies are born with smaller than normal head size and underdeveloped brains that can lead to severe developmental disorders. While there is no definite evidence linking the virus and microcephaly, there has been an abnormal increase of birth defects, with close to 4800 suspected cases of microcephaly reported by the Brazilian Ministry of Health in the past 6 months.
UNICEF is working in support of national and local governments, with the following goals: a) control the spread of Zika Virus, b) mitigate its impact on children and their families, in particular in the most disadvantaged communities, c) influence the market to help drive the development of rapid diagnostics and vaccines.
Through its $13.8 Million appeal, UNICEF has defined the current targets for Zika response in 2016. Within social mobilization, UNICEF will reach 200 million people in affected countries of Latin America and the Caribbean reached with key communication messages on protection. Within research and development (R&D) UNICEF will influence the market to help rapidly drive the development of at least 2 diagnostic test and 2 candidate vaccines.
This project has provided additional documentation in a PDF file (projdoc.pdf).