Binational Public Health Campaign Spreads Zika Awareness

Jul 18, 2017

A non-profit in Yuma County is working with governmental agencies on both sides of the border to inform the community about the Zika virus. For the Arizona Science Desk, Maya Springhawk Robnett reports…

Campesinos sin Fronteras, a non-profit serving the Yuma region’s low-income Hispanic population, recently received a mini-grant from the United States/Mexico Border Health Commission—an organization run by the U.S. and Mexican governments to promote health in the region. As part of the grant, health care workers inform the community about Zika by bringing presentations to farmworkers in the fields and passing out informational literature.

In her office in Somerton, Arizona, Campesinos Executive Director Emma Torres emphasized the importance of Zika education on the border.  “Being on the border," Torres explained, "we know that diseases don’t need a passport.”

Torres says with the risk of microcephaly—a severe brain defect in newborns linked to Zika—health care organizations must be vigilant. “In our community, we have one of the highest—on both sides of the border—one of the highest teen pregnancy rates," Torres said. "So we put together all that and we see a huge public health issue.”

Both the Yuma County Health Department and the Secretaria de Salud in San Luis Rio Colorado, Mexico have taken part in the informational campaign.