Understanding knowledge, attitudes and practices to fight Zika

In an outbreak communities are the frontline in the fight to stopping the spread of disease. However, with new diseases now frequently emerging due to impacts of urbanisation, climate change and increasingly mobile global populations, it is difficult for people to keep up with the pace of new information and know what to do to protect themselves. Between June and October 2018 thirteen Caribbean Red Cross National Societies completed large scale efforts to find out more about what communities know, how they think about, and what they do to prevent Zika.

“In order to help people combat the threat of this disease now and in the future, we need to understand what they already know about it how they have been already working to prevent it. We want to tackle people`s misconceptions about the virus and help them to collectively protect their communities and support those people who may be affected.” said Nasir Khan, Caribbean Zika Prevention and Response Project manager for IFRC.

The Caribbean region is no stranger to viruses transmitted by mosquitoes, with Dengue and Chikungunya, spread by the same Aedes mosquito, now commonplace in the region. However, Zika has another dimension to it with the risks of congenital Zika syndrome (including microcephaly) and the fact that it can also be sexually transmitted. To find out more about what people knew, how they understood and what practices they engaged in to prevent Zika a Knowledge Attitudes and Practices (KAP) survey was carried out in 13 countries that are part of IFRC’s Caribbean Zika Prevention and Response Project supported by USAID.

In total 1667 surveys were collected across English speaking countries in the Caribbean and Suriname. Carrying out data collection from households at this scale can be a challenge, especially when it comes to making sure all data is captured and made quickly available for analysis. To meet this challenge Caribbean National Societies were supported with training and support to use Open Data Kit (ODK) an open source tool that is used widely in humanitarian organizations to collect field data.

Results of the KAP survey showed that people were concerned about Zika and while most knew it was caused by a mosquito, few were aware that it could also be sexually transmitted. Some people were engaged in actions that might help mosquitoes stop breeding but are likely to need more support to scale up actions to protect the wider community.

A great strength of the Red Cross is our ability to stand alongside our communities, to hear and understand what is going on at the ground level. The information we get from listening to community voices is invaluable to us and other partners in the Caribbean region in addressing Zika and the health challenges of the future.” explained Erin Law, Global Zika Advisor for IFRC.

The Knowledge Attitudes and Practices Survey on Zika in the Caribbean was conducted by Red Cross National Societies in Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, The Bahamas and Trinidad and Tobago. Technical support was provided by the IFRC Country Cluster for the English-speaking Caribbean and Suriname, IFRC Innovation Team in the Americas Regional Office and the Caribbean Disaster Risk Management (CADRIM) Reference Centre in Barbados.

Read the Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices Survey Report

Download the pdf Caribbean Red Cross Success Story

Caribbean National Societies unite to teach others how to fight mosquito borne diseases

We’ve all had the experience of being bitten by a mosquito. We also know that in some places mosquitoes are more present than others. Aside from spraying ourselves with mosquito repellent, what can we do stop the bites?

Mosquitos that carry Dengue, Chikungunya and Zika like to live near humans. We provide them with blood meals and places for them to breed. Mosquito eggs, which can turn quickly from egg to flying mosquito in around a week, get laid in the small amounts of water that can accumulate in trash left around where humans live and tanks and barrels that are not covered or regularly cleaned.

Cleaning up communities has been central to the fight against diseases carried by the Aedes aegypti mosquito in Red Cross’ work around the globe, but how does it get practically done? Red Cross National Societies from the Caribbean region developed the “How to do a Community Clean-up” guide in September 2019 to help answer this question.

All of the National Societies in our region have been working at the community level to reduce the risk of the Aedes mosquito. But we found that many others wanted to understand what the best way to do a clean up was. It is a logistical undertaking that needs more than academic theory. And no-one can tell us better how to do this than the project managers and field officers themselves” said Chantal Braithwaite, Senior Public Health Officer for the IFRC Caribbean Country Cluster Support Team in Trinidad and Tobago.

The short guide is a combination of experiences brought together by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC) Caribbean Country Cluster Office. The simple and easy-to-adopt 13 step process was developed by 11 National Societies who were asked to order, vote, and add what was missing from previous guides. The guide also draws on the content explained in the Zika, Dengue and Chikungunya Toolkit, which lays out a community risk mapping process to drive longer term behaviour change.

The guide is available here.

The “How to do a Community Clean-up” guide was developed thanks to the Red Cross National Societies from Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, the Bahamas, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, St Kitts and Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago who provided recommendations, technical support and collaboration during the process.

Download the .pdf of this success story here

Tras mega tormentas Irma y Maria, debemos estar en alerta ante enfermedades transmitidas por los mosquitos

por Erin Law, experta de la FICR en salud pública y asesora global en Zika

Cuando tu casa ha sido destruida, pensar a largo tiempo es un lujo, por ejemplo, como será tu vida en un año o en una década. Mientras estas revisando que ha quedado de tus pertinencias, es poco probable que estés contemplando enfermedades transmitidas por el mosquito.

Mirar tan lejos en el futuro es un lujo que las personas que están examinando los escombros, volcando los techos corrugados, y arrastrando las ramas para descubrir lo que podría quedar, simplemente no tienen.

Ahora y en el futuro, el cambio climático está cambiando la forma en que experimentamos los desastres naturales. Un huracán, que atraviesa el Atlántico desde África y cae con toda su fuerza en las islas del caribe no es nada nuevo. Hay una razón porque llamamos la mayor parte de la segunda mitad del año la temporada de los huracanes. Lea más

Barbuda: las preocupaciones por la salud aumentan a medida que los evacuados planifican su regreso

“Cuando estábamos llegando a la costa en el barco, ya se podía ver que la isla fue destrozada”, comenta Laura Archer, especialista en salud de la Cruz Roja Canadiense desplegada a Barbuda.

“Los árboles y las líneas de energía caídos, la mayoría de los edificios sin techo, si no completamente destruidos. El hospital también está muy destruido, hay aguas estancadas, entre tantas cosas que se tienen que tratar inmediatamente en términos de la salud.”

Archer viajó a Barbuda como parte de un equipo de especialistas desplegado por la Federación Internacional de Sociedades de la Cruz Roja y de la Media Luna Roja (FICR) para el apoyo de la respuesta de la Cruz Roja de Antigua y Barbuda. Lea más