Nearly 200 staff providing home-based services to at-risk pregnant women and young families in Florida participated in Zika 101 today, an informational webinar for home visitors sponsored by Healthy Families Florida and Florida MIECHV. Mirine Dye, MPH, MPH, CHES, IBCLC offered information about what is known about the Zika virus, how to educate pregnant women and women of childbearing age about the risks and how they can protect themselves from contracting the virus. Home visitors were urged to take recommended precautions while serving families in affected areas. State and national resources were also highlighted in the presentation. Both the CDC and Florida Department of Health have produced information sheets for pregnant women and families of childbearing age, as well as mosquito prevention, in English, Spanish and Creole.
With the country’s first local transmission of Zika reported in Miami-Dade County, home visiting programs are working to gather and distribute information and prevention resources to at-risk families. The Nurse Family Partnership Alliance in Miami-Dade, funded by FL MIECHV and administered by Health Choice Network, shared their experience in serving families in the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami. The program is assembling Zika prevention kits containing mosquito repellent, stroller netting, condoms and information sheets for participants in and around the local area. The Healthy Start Coalition of Miami-Dade is also garnering resources for additional local kits. And the Ounce of Prevention Fund of Florida is coordinating efforts to obtain donations and supplies for prevention kits for distribution by home visiting programs statewide.
Pregnant women and families of childbearing age are at particular risk because of Zika’s link to microcephaly, a devastating birth defect. Efforts by home visiting programs are intended to reinforce strategies implemented by the Florida Department of Health and federal public health agencies.