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Addressing Poverty, Inequality Critical To Responding To Zika, Other Emerging Infectious Diseases

Huffington Post: To Fight Zika, Fight Poverty And Inequality
Magdy Martínez-Solimán, U.N. assistant secretary general, UNDP assistant administrator, and director of the Bureau for Policy and Programme Support at the UNDP; and Jessica Faieta, U.N. assistant secretary general and director of the Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean at the UNDP

“…[A] report by the U.N. Development Programme and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, shows that Zika is a disease of poverty and inequality. … The report calls for a range of inter-related responses to the social and economic impacts of Zika. It urges wide-reaching action to combat mosquito-borne diseases, as the factors that shape vulnerability lie largely beyond the health sector: housing, sanitation, gender inequality, socio-economic status, and urban infrastructure all influence the risk of infection. … The Zika epidemic provides a valuable insight: to prepare for and respond to emerging infectious diseases, health and other development goals must be addressed together. If we fall short of improving daily conditions for families in poverty, do not address gender inequality, and fail to recognize the impact that poor urban environments have on the spread of disease, then public health will increasingly be at risk and social and economic progress for all will remain precarious. … Zika reminds us that all countries and peoples remain vulnerable to emerging infectious diseases, and that a disease that primarily affects poorer populations has wide-ranging social and economic implications for entire communities, regions, and nations” (4/6).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.