Zika Cost In the Region Will Be in the Billions

The Zika outbreak could cost the Caribbean and Latin America US$7-18 billion over 2015–2017 alone, a new report has found.

And while larger economies such as Brazil could bear the greatest “absolute” burden, the most severe impacts are likely be felt in the poorest countries such as Haiti.

That’s the conclusion of the report, ‘Socio-economic Impact Assessment of Zika Virus in Latin America and the Caribbean’, conducted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and prepared in partnership with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

Particular focus was placed on Brazil, Colombia and Suriname, countries that first reported the outbreak in October-November 2015, and takes into account the impact the outbreak has on public health and the tangible effect on gross domestic product.

“Zika reminds us that all countries and peoples remain vulnerable to emerging infectious diseases, and that a disease that primarily affects poorer populations has wide-ranging social and economic implications for entire communities,” said Magdy Martínez-Solimán, the UNDP Assistant Administrator and Director of its Bureau for Policy and Programme Support.

The far-reaching impact of the Zika virus would go beyond tangible losses such as to the GDP and could potentially impact the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, noted Jessica Faieta, the UNDP Assistant Administrator and Director of its Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean.

She warned that the consequences of the virus can undermine decades of social development, hard-earned health gains and slow progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

The study recommends that budgetary plans be established given that Zika is likely to become endemic; integrated efforts aimed at multiple mosquito-borne viruses, allowing room to tailor approaches to each disease’s unique effects; and that equity considerations be at the forefront of Zika strategies and the provision of adequate social protection mechanisms for those affected.

It also suggests promoting public policies that support gender equality and sexual and reproductive health and rights targeting affected communities, engagement in the fight against the outbreak, and the development of a multi-sectoral approach to mosquito-borne diseases both nationally and regionally.

Read more: http://www.caribbean360.com/news/zika-cost-region-will-billions#ixzz4do2ZwWt9

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