The Grenada Red Cross Society (GRCS) is getting support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to engage in a Zika prevention project.
Since Zika surfaced in Grenada in 2016, there have been two deaths from the Guillian Barre Syndrome and one baby affected with Microcephaly.
USAID has given Red Cross US$102,000,00 under the Caribbean Zika Virus Disease Prevention & Response Project to help create greater awareness through 32 communities throughout Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique.
The project which began in October 2016 will run until September and will focus on four important areas – risk communication and provision of commodities, community clean up campaigns and community vector control, community based surveillance and psychosocial support for pregnant.
The community engagement activities include community awareness meetings, mapping of mosquito breeding sites & community cleanup campaigns, information sharing at a household level, information sessions at schools, training of community residents in the areas of, epidemic control, sanitation and hygiene, psychosocial support and information session at Community Centers with pregnant mothers.
Director General of GRCS, Terry Charles noted that although the project may be a bit late in coming, it is timely because of the purpose it is intended for.
“Even though the project seems in the eyes of some persons to be a bit late, we remember just about two, three years ago, we had Chikungunya which was caused by the same Aedes Aegypti mosquito and then thereafter we had Zika”, he said.
“So I think the response is timely in that it prepares us to realise we may not even know what is coming next… even though the focus is on Zika we more see it as working together to prevent any of these vector-borne illnesses that may happen from time to time”, he added.
According to Charles, a survey will be conducted in the different communities to ensure that the project is doing what it is intended to achieve.
“…The team that sits here, they have to report every week, every month – they’ve got to report how many households that they have gone to, how many persons attended their public meetings, how many pieces of materials were distributed and in the next couple months we will be back again in the communities and doing another survey to see whether or not what we would have done with our knowledge, attitude or practices have changed or improved”, he said.
Project Coordinator, Cindy Lewis disclosed that a community based approach will be taken with the project.
“We did a Zika survey, it was done in 21 communities throughout Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique and the results of the survey states that Grenadians know a lot about Zika so for us what we would be doing, we would be going basically at the community level and we are of the opinion – we would be giving the community residents the basic information, so we would be going house to house to have the basic information about Zika”, she said.