says 122 million dollars needed for global response to Zika virus
Send a link to a friend
[June 17, 2016]
By Kate Kelland
LONDON (Reuters) - Almost $122 million is
needed to prevent and manage the medical complications of the Zika virus
spreading throughout the Americas and causing birth defects in babies,
the World Health Organization said on Friday.
A specific focus is needed on supporting women and girls of
child-bearing age, the UN health agency said as it set out a revised
joint strategy with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) for
how to handle the mosquito-borne virus.
Zika has caused alarm throughout the Americas since cases of the
birth defect microcephaly were reported in Brazil, the country
hardest hit by the outbreak.
The rare birth defect is marked by unusually small head size and
potentially severe developmental problems. Brazilian authorities
have confirmed more than 1,400 cases of microcephaly in babies whose
mothers were exposed to Zika during pregnancy.
On Thursday, U.S. health officials reported three babies there have
been born with birth defects linked to likely Zika virus infection
in their mothers in pregnancy, along with three cases of lost
pregnancies linked to Zika..
WHO director-general Margaret Chan said much had been learned about
Zika, how it spreads, the consequences of infection and how to
control it since global health authorities set out their initial
response plans earlier this year. WHO declared Zika a global public
health emergency in February.
"The response now requires a unique and integrated strategy that
places support for women and girls of child-bearing age at its
core," she said in a statement.
The plan highlights several aspects of the Zika outbreak "that
require a collaborative, global response," the WHO said.
[to top of second column]
These include, the potential for further international spread of
Zika given the wide distribution of Aedes mosquitoes capable of
transmitting it; the lack of population immunity in areas where Zika
virus is circulating for the first time; and the lack of vaccines,
treatments and rapid diagnostic tests.
Chan said "coherent funding mechanisms" were essential for the plan
to be implemented successfully, and noted the number of donors
engaged in the global Zika response had risen to 60 from 23 in
WHO, PAHO and other agencies say they need $121.9 million to
implement the revised plan from now until December 2017.
(Reporting by Kate Kelland; Editing by Janet Lawrence)
[© 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2016 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.