WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--With Zika virus spreading “explosively in the Americas,” PAHO Foundation has begun to mobilize its efforts for a new Zika virus campaign, adding to its history of addressing neglected tropical diseases like dengue and chikungunya in the Americas in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
PAHO is the specialized health agency of the Inter-American System and serves as the Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization (WHO). Together with WHO, PAHO is a member of the United Nations system.
Dr. Jennie Ward-Robinson, CEO & President of PAHO Foundation, said, "Investments are urgently needed to support additional research, prevention, and surveillance. We also need to engage immediately in mass communication efforts so as to ensure that women and families in areas with limited resources are ensured access to an equitable level of prevention and care.”
On February 1, 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Zika virus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) because of its ability to be spread internationally and its potential to require a coordinated global response. In addition, WHO also cited the virus’ connection with microcephaly, a fetal brain disorder, and the lack of vaccines, reliable diagnostic tests and immunities in infected countries, as justification for classifying the Zika virus as a public health emergency.
Last week, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) released the strongest evidence linking microcephaly to the Zika virus found in two babies from Brazil. The vector-borne virus has also been associated with a rare nerve disorder called Guillian-Barre syndrome. More in-depth research about Zika and its connection to these disorders are desperately needed.
Dr. Jennie Ward-Robinson added, “It is imperative that we do something now not just for Zika but to end the scourge of all neglected tropical diseases.” With Zika estimated to affect 4 million people globally by this time next year and more cases of the virus being reported every day in the Americas, PAHO Foundation sees an immense need to focus our support on the people in our region being affected by this virus and other tropical diseases.
About PAHO Foundation
PAHO Foundation is an independent 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization that seeks to strengthen PAHO’s ability to improve and save lives in the Americas, and to set an example for the rest of the world in public health philanthropy. The Foundation fully supports PAHO’s mission of promoting equity in health, combating disease and improving the health, longevity and quality of life of all the peoples of the Americas. To support PAHO Foundation’s efforts on the Zika virus campaign please donate here: http://www.pahofoundation.org/support/donate-online.