World Health Organization Launches Zika Global Response Plan

WHO said $56 million is required to implement the framework and plan, which cover January-June 2016.

The World Health Organization has launched a global Strategic Response Framework and Joint Operations Plan to guide the world's response to the spread of Zika virus infection, which WHO's director-general, Dr. Margaret Chan, on Feb. 1 declared is a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. This decision was based on advice from the first meeting of the Emergency Committee under the International Health Regulations.

WHO said $56 million is required to implement the framework and plan, which cover January-June 2016. According to its news release, the strategy focuses on mobilizing and coordinating partners, experts, and resources to help countries enhance surveillance of the Zika virus and disorders that could be linked to it; improve vector control; effectively communicate risks, guidance, and protection measures; provide medical care to those affected; and fast-track research and the development of vaccines.

The money breaks down into $25 million to fund the WHO/AMRO/PAHO response and $31 million for the work of key partners. In the interim, WHO has tapped a recently established emergency contingency fund to finance its initial operations, and its headquarters activated an Incident Management System to oversee the global response and leverage expertise from across the organization.

With its partners, WHO is mapping efforts to develop vaccines, therapies, diagnostic tests, and new vector control tactics; they are accelerating data sharing, product development, and clinical trials.

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