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Parents learn how to keep their children safe from unseen dangers

POSTED August 9, 2017

Parents learn how to keep their children safe from unseen dangers

Families in two Nicaraguan cities learn how to protect against Zika

By Enmanuel Castro, communications manager, Nicaragua

Comm Rise Zika Nic

I always expected the best for him,” says Jorge, father of seven-month-old Nahum. We’re sitting outside his home with his wife and son in the yard. “I never thought anything bad would happen,” he continues.

Jorge is talking about the moment he found out his pregnant wife, Meyling, had contracted a mosquito-borne virus known as Zika, a condition that can cause severe birth defects and incomplete brain development.

Nahum is healthy, but one of his ears isn’t fully formed.

In 2016, when Nahum was born, Nicaragua had the highest number of confirmed Zika cases in Central America: 2,051, including 1,114 cases in pregnant women. Like Nahum, many families live in vulnerable communities where few homes have a sewage system, leading to the formation of puddles where mosquitoes reproduce.

“[Healthy children] can have fun, go to school and grow up happy.” — Brandon, 11

Now, 6,000 vulnerable children and adults from two cities in Nicaragua have learned how to help prevent mosquito-transmitted diseases such as Zika and dengue.

In coordination with the Ministry of Health, the community eliminated large pools of standing water, and a campaign included training in schools, homes, neighbourhood assemblies, plus house-to-house visits. The local health centre has led activities.

“I learned how to destroy mosquito-breeding sites and change the clean water from the containers, which is the main way mosquitoes reproduce,” shares Meyling. “I’ve also learned to clean the house from unnecessary things, put the garbage in its place, and, above all, to protect children and involve them in the housecleaning [so they know how to stay safe, too].”

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