USAID Launches Zika AIRS Project to Support Jamaica’s Mosquito Control Efforts

On October 17, 2017, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) officially launched the Zika AIRS Project (ZAP) in partnership with the Ministry of Health during an event with key stakeholders.

ZAP, a regional project that has teams throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, has been launched as a component of USAID’s Zika response with the purpose of reducing and controlling the presence of mosquitoes responsible for transmitting Zika and other diseases, such as dengue and chikungunya.

Over the next year, ZAP Jamaica will work closely with the Ministry of Health, Regional Health Authorities, the University of West Indies, and other stakeholders in vector control to support the rollout of the joint Ministry of Health/University of West Indies Mosquito Control and Research Unit, address capacity building priorities, and share global best practices related to eliminating breeding sites, larviciding, and entomological monitoring.

During the launch event, USAID’s Acting Mission Director to Jamaica, Rebecca Robinson, spoke about the importance of collaboration and partnership in building sustainable disease prevention and mitigation systems. “The harmful physical and neurological effects of Zika, especially on pregnant women and their unborn babies, are evident. This is why USAID is partnering with the Ministry of Health and others in this project to reduce the mosquito population, protect individuals from infection, and minimize the negative impacts of Zika.”

As the rainy season persists, collaboration on vector control efforts is essential.  Ms. Robinson said, “sustained effort must be made to educate and remind everyone that each of us has a role, and we can all do our part” to reduce mosquito breeding sites. By strengthening the vector control response now, Jamaica will be well positioned to address any future outbreak of Zika or  other similar mosquito-borne diseases.

In addition to vector control support, USAID’s Zika-related efforts in Jamaica include technical assistance in social and behavior change communication, healthcare service delivery, care and support for affected children, and community engagement.

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