By Dr. Laura Chanchien Parajón, Medical Director
Did you know that the mosquito is the most deadly animal in the world? The mosquito kills more people than any other animal? (See this article for more info!)
The Zika virus is also transmitted by mosquitoes! And while symptoms are minor for most people and doesn’t kill people, if a pregnant woman gets Zika, there is an up to 30% chance that her baby can get microcephaly or Zika congenital syndrome, which means that their baby will need special care for all their life, an estimated cost of up to $10 million dollars over a lifetime.
So, AMOS and our partners here in Nicaragua – the Sustainable Sciences Institute, USAID and UC Berkeley – have been able to help reach pregnant women in two of the most vulnerable districts of Managua.
Through a fun and participatory health education sessions, our team of community health educators have currently reached 212 pregnant women where difficult living conditions create fertile ground for mosquito breeding sites.
In these sessions, pregnant women learn about Zika and how to prevent the spread of Zika through:
- Personal protection from mosquito bites like using light colored clothing or insect repellent, and use of bed nets while sleeping primarily during the day, to prevent bite of the aedes aegypti mosquito, which carries Zika.
- Using condoms to prevent sexual transmission of Zika.
- Eliminating mosquito breeding sites.
- Using barrel covers to keep standing water free of mosquitos (in many areas of Nicaragua, a lack of running water means that people store water in big plastic barrels).
After each education session, not only do women leave with education on how to prevent Zika, but also her very own Zika Prevention Kit: a bed net to protect herself from mosquitoes, condoms to prevent the sexual transmission of Zika, a barrel cover to keep water free of mosquito breeding grounds, and a bag with information on the lifecycle of the mosquito so that she truly understands how to keep herself and her baby safe.
The participants expressed their gratitude for the Zika Prevention Kits, saying that they will be a great help to be able to cover their water barrels, use condoms, and sleep beneath mosquito nets. They noted that now there is no reason why they can’t take action to prevent Zika!
Thank you for helping to empower women to protect their families from Zika!