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Opinion Pieces Discuss Various Issues Surrounding Zika Outbreak

Quartz: What Africa’s fight against HIV can teach Latin America about Zika
Celine Gounder, internist, infectious diseases and public health specialist, and medical journalist

“…[Intrauterine devices (IUDs)] and hormonal implants are the most reliable form of reversible contraception, with failure rates of less than one percent. They’re also long-lasting … Latin American countries and nonprofits should move quickly to scale up access to the contraceptives we know to be most effective and long-lasting. … [W]e should make expanding access to effective, long-lasting contraception an immediate priority. This will buy us time as the global medical community works to prevent Zika infections in pregnancy” (2/25).

The Guardian: Tackling Zika in Brazil: ‘There is fear among the people I meet’
Rozana Ribeiro, nurse at Brazil’s Red Cross

“…Following an appeal by the health ministry, I’ve spent the last two months alongside other Red Cross volunteers going door to door with pamphlets to raise awareness about Zika. We talk to people about how to prevent the conditions that allow mosquitoes to thrive and how to avoid getting bitten. There is fear among the people I meet on their doorsteps. The women are especially concerned; they are scared because the number of cases of people with the Zika virus has risen so fast. In fact, the problem is much bigger and the reality much worse than what is being reported by the media. … Why has the virus spread so fast? It’s down to a combination of factors, including a lack of action by the authorities and not enough awareness of the causes or knowledge about how to prevent it…” (2/26).

Marie Claire: Two Powerhouse Politicians on What the Fight Against Zika Really Needs
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), chair of the Democratic National Committee, and Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.)

“…In an effort to reduce the incidence of [microcephaly], some governments have encouraged women to avoid or delay getting pregnant. … According to a recent report from the Kaiser Family Foundation, five Western Hemisphere countries with active Zika transmission — Guyana, Haiti, Bolivia, Suriname, and Guatemala — have Contraceptive Prevalence Rates … at or below 50 percent. Other countries with active Zika transmission, including the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, and Honduras, struggle with a lack of access to contraception. … As women members of Congress, and staunch advocates for a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions, we urge the global community to join us in calling for improved access to family planning resources, including education and contraception. Women and men facing the risk of Zika infection need the resources and information to make voluntary, informed choices on family planning — not anti-women’s health policies that leave them without viable options” (2/24).

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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.