What else is the UN doing to combat the Zika virus?
As the health arm of the United Nations, the WHO is leading the international response in combatting the Zika virus. However, other UN agencies such as UNICEF and UNFPA have also announced plans to mobilize and help keep communities safe.
The WHO is working with affected countries including the United States to:
- “Define and prioritize research into Zika virus disease by convening experts and partners.
- Enhance surveillance of Zika virus and potential complications.
- Strengthen capacity in risk communication to help countries meet their commitments under the International Health Regulations.
- Provide training on clinical management, diagnosis and vector control including through a number of WHO Collaborating Centres.
- Strengthen the capacity of laboratories to detect the virus.
- Support health authorities to implement vector control strategies aimed at reducing Aedes mosquito populations such as providing larvicide to treat standing water sites that cannot be treated in other ways, such as cleaning, emptying, and covering them.
- Prepare recommendations for clinical care and follow-up of people with Zika virus, in collaboration with experts and other health agencies.”
WHO’s Zika Response
UNFPA is working with governments in Latin America and the Caribbean that have been affected by the Zika virus epidemic to ensure an accelerated and adequate supply of contraceptives and to help meet an increasing demand for sexual and reproductive health information and services, including prenatal care.
UNFPA’s Zika Response
UNICEF is scaling up its support to Brazil and other countries in the region and stands ready to support national governments as needed – using its network of 24 offices serving 35 countries and territories in Latin America and the Caribbean.
UNICEF’s Zika Response
What is a public health emergency of international concern?
A public health emergency of international concern is a technical designation that can kick start a number of emergency procedures. This is only the fourth time in almost ten years that the WHO has declared this kind of emergency. The last time this kind of emergency was declared was during the Ebola outbreak.
Once an emergency is declared, the WHO and its member states’ health ministries may institute an emergency response system to help countries more effectively cooperate to implement measures to stop this disease. The emergency committee could also offer preliminary advice to the WHO and member states on measures to prevent or disrupt the disease. This could include a whole-scale travel ban on endemic countries in the Caribbean.
Learn more about public health emergencies of International concern
How do the WHO and the CDC work together to address public health emergencies like Zika?
CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden has said the WHO’s declaration “calls the world to action.” This partnership remains key, particularly as Frieden has said, the “CDC, along with the entire U.S. government, is actively involved in the world’s Zika response and working 24/7 to learn more about the virus and protect health.”
The CDC and WHO routinely collaborate. For example, “the CDC contributes to WHO’s efforts through the secondment of CDC staff to strategic posts within the WHO structure, with special attention to the WHO Regional Offices (e.g. PAHO, AFRO), and through grants to support specific programs of global importance, such as polio eradication and surveillance for emerging diseases. In addition, a number of WHO Collaborative Centers are based within CDC, sharing staff, research initiatives, and publications for use by the global health community.”
Learn more about the CDC’s partnerships with the WHO and other UN agencies