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Preventing Negative Birth Outcomes from the Zika Virus in Haiti
A pregnant woman walks down a street in Haiti. Credit: Ben Piven
The Sustaining Health Outcomes through the Private Sector (SHOPS) Plus Project, led by Abt Global and funded by USAID, is integrating a Zika communications campaign into a wider effort to improve family planning and reproductive health in Haiti.
Between October 2015 and May 2016, each of Haiti’s 10 départements reported cases of Zika; 69 percent of the cases were in the three most populous regions.
SHOPS Plus is reaching out to couples and women of childbearing age across Haiti to promote the use of condoms and mosquito repellent to prevent Zika transmission. The project is also helping reduce negative birth outcomes through the use of family planning products and services to avoid unwanted pregnancies, particularly while Zika is still a threat. The project is using interpersonal communications via health educators, printed materials for beneficiaries and outreach workers, a mHealth platform, and mass media spots and broadcasts, among other methods, to reach the Haitian population.
For all communication channels, SHOPS Plus is translating, adapting, and/or producing relevant and useful messages and materials that promote and enable behavior change. We are avoiding duplicating efforts by seeking existing material and collaborating with the Pan American Health Organization, UNICEF, USAID partners, and other stakeholders.
SHOPS Plus is continuously seeking to improve existing messages and materials by learning about behavioral dynamics through household and small group discussions led by health educators. We will develop Zika-specific discussion guides and reporting procedures to allow participating health educators to collect information on related behaviors, such as:
What already-existing behaviors might be modified and promoted to improve individual and family responses to Zika?
Within a given community, what conditions lead certain individuals and families to early awareness of Zika and increased preparation to take action to minimize risk?
To assist the broader Zika response, SHOPS Plus will make research findings available to all partners in a timely manner—as well as use the findings to inform messages and materials.