Dominican Republic

The overall goal of the Zika AIRS project (ZAP) is to reduce the burden of vector-borne diseases by enhancing USAID’s ability to implement mosquito control programs in Latin America and the Caribbean with a focus on the Dominican Republic (DR), El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, and Honduras. In October, 2016, ZAP deployed long-term personnel to the five priority countries to carry out a two-year technical support program. ZAP will provide technical expertise in vector control (VC) and entomological monitoring, conduct cost-effective commodity procurement, establish logistics management systems, and engage local communities in affected countries. ZAP provides this support through USAID’s additional funding to the President’s Malaria Initiative Africa Indoor Residual Spraying (PMI AIRS) Project, managed by Abt Associates (Abt).

The first cases of Zika in the DR were reported in January 2016 in the capital city of Santo Domingo. By August 31, 2016 all 32 provinces (departments) reported locally transmitted cases. According to official Ministry of Public Health (MOH) reports, there have been a total of 5,212 unconfirmed cases with 948 infections in pregnant women.[1] Also reported were 274 cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome and 10 cases of congenital Zika. Recent statistics show that the cases of unconfirmed Zika have been declining in the DR, a pattern also observed in other countries in the Latin America and Caribbean region.

However, the virus still remains a threat. The National Center for Control of Tropical Diseases (CENCET) is the technical unit within the MOH responsible for prevention and control of flavivirus infections and other vector-borne diseases, including Zika. CENCET has led a coordinated response to the epidemic in collaboration with several international and local partners. Entomological surveillance, fumigation, social behavior change communication (SBCC) campaigns, and environmental cleanup campaigns have been implemented in select provinces over the past year to reduce the transmission of the virus. ZAP DR will partner with CENCET and other implementers to jointly respond to the epidemic.

This work plan describes project resources and activities that the ZAP DR project will implement between January 2017– December 2017.

Key ZAP DR Objectives in 2017

In 2017, ZAP DR will support implementation of VC activities in four targeted provinces (Figure 1) to coincide as much as possible with provinces where Save the Children (STC) and its consortium partners will carry out community-based Zika control and prevention interventions. The decision to focus on similar target geographic areas as STC follows the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)/DR recommendations to capitalize on STC-provided resources and capacity.  ZAP DR will support environmental management, conduct community-based VC activities, and promote health education at the household and school level. ZAP DR will contribute training, technical support, and quality assurance. The project will support the Government of the DR and implementing partners in setting up best practices for managing Zika-related environmental health risks, safe inventory and warehouse management, and testing innovative technologies to control transmission, including targeted indoor residual spraying for Aedes aegypti. It also will work with the government and the partners to strengthen insecticide resistance management policies and establish a comprehensive domain of bionomic data on Aedes vectors to ensure data-driven decisions in the forthcoming Zika control efforts. ZAP DR will work at national and provincial levels in close coordination with partners to achieve the following key project objectives:

  • Support high-quality VC management (including larviciding, environmental cleanup or source reduction, and piloting targeted indoor residual spraying (IRS) to protect at risk populations from the Zika virus.
  • Establish best practices in and conduct entomological monitoring in selected areas (including vector bionomic studies, routine surveillance, data reporting, insecticide resistance policies, and logistics).
  • Enhance capacity and skills of the MOH and other counterparts in VC and entomology to establish in-country resources to program and implement activities for the reduction of Zika and other arbovirus transmission (including nationwide training in VC and entomology; subnational- and community-level skill building and procurement of supplies and equipment.)

[1] Ministerio de Salud Pública, Dirección General de Epidemiología, Sistema Nacional de Vigilancia Epidemiológica. 2016. Boletín Epidemiológico Semanal. Semana No. 41.

ZAP DR Provinces Proposed for 2017 Activities