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Opinion Pieces Discuss Zika, Opportunities To Improve Health Systems

Thomson Reuters Foundation: What Dengue and Ebola can teach us about Zika
Elhadj As Sy, secretary general at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

“…Health systems alone could not effectively respond to Ebola, and they will not be able to cope with the Zika outbreak. Governments in affected countries will need to adopt a ‘whole of society approach.’ Health system strengthening must go hand-in-hand with community system strengthening. … Health is the foundation of resilience. No individual or community will be able to cope with a disaster, or benefit from new economic opportunities, unless we invest in healthy communities and effective health systems. This is the best protection we can offer against Zika, and against the next health threat to come” (2/18).

The Guardian: The Zika virus mosquito is unmasking Brazil’s inequality and indifference
Eliane Brum, journalist, writer, and documentary maker

“…The quality of the response to the Zika epidemic [in Brazil] … could be an opportunity to tackle chronic problems for which solutions have always been postponed. Improving the living conditions of the population, with effective public policies and procedures, is the most efficient way of eradicating the mosquito’s breeding grounds. … The biggest challenge is not to defeat the whistleblower [in this case, the mosquito], but to change the structure that allows it to exist. … The decisive factor — as outlined by Deisy Ventura of the Institute of International Relations at the University of São Paulo, who researches the links between law and health — is not the disease itself, but when it travels beyond the place that it should be confined to, namely poor countries. In this case, Zika has become a global emergency by threatening the brains of children from rich countries. This long-legged insect also highlights the ethical fragility of the powerful sapiens” (2/16).

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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.