Working with families affected by Zika virus

About the work

We are working both in Rio de Janeiro and in Recife (north east Brazil) in collaboration with Fiocruz, Brazil, the Brazilian Ministry of Health, Saúde Crianca and the Uniao de Maes dos Anjos (Association of mothers of angels – Children with Microcephaly). Our main objective is to engage with underprivileged communities in Brazil and Colombia to share information on current research around Zika, the implications and consequences of Zika infection, and when to seek diagnostic testing.

Some of our work involves holding workshops with affected families to improve outcomes for their children and to help alleviate the stigma associated with microcephaly. Our workshops cover health needs, social inclusion issues, risks associated with Zika virus infection, advice on managing feeding difficulties, spasticity, seizures, and other problems associated with congenital Zika syndrome. We will improve general understanding of Zika related problems and promote engagement with health and support services. We are also trying to improve the access to health information to families with children suffering congenital disease due to other infections.  We will also strengthen and extend coverage of an on-going ‘whatsapp - support group’ for mothers and families with Zika across Brazil and Colombia to provide orientation on health issues.