Taking Aim at Zika (and Other Mosquito-Borne Illnesses)

Source
Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs
Date of Publication
2019

This blog describes CCP’s Breakthrough ACTION's work in five Central American and Caribbean nations to train upwards of 500 people in interpersonal communication skills for those who go door-to-door to help people prevent Zika – and other illnesses carried by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, such as dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever.

In an additional four Caribbean countries, the project has also led trainings in how to use social and behavior change approaches to deliver the messages far and wide. The main issue everyone was encountering was that more than two years after WHO announced that Zika was no longer a public health emergency, many people no longer saw it as a threat.

The trainings focused on skills for household visits to talk about Zika, this being a better way to deliver the messages to motivate families to change their behaviors and how to deal with common myths and misperceptions.  

The team developed seven recommended behaviors for Zika prevention:

  1. Use mosquito repellent (DEET, Picaridin, IR3535 and eucalyptus lemon oil only), as directed by each product manufacturer during pregnancy to reduce the risk of Zika transmission from mosquito bites.
  2. Use condom to prevent sexual transmission of Zika during pregnancy.
  3. Regularly remove unintentional standing water both inside and outside of the house, and in communal areas.
  4. Cover water storage containers at all times with a cover that is tight fitting and does not warp or touch the water.
  5. Eliminate mosquito eggs from the walls of frequently used water storage containers weekly.
  6. Attend prenatal check-ups to monitor the pregnancy and learn about the risk of contracting Zika and how to prevent it.
  7. Seek counseling from a trained provider about modern family planning methods if you do not plan to become pregnant.