Posted By Hope Alfaro On June 29, 2016

HHS begins awarding funds to FQHCs to combat Zika

The Zika virus continues to dominate health news and new research as organizations work to determine the best route to combat the spread of the virus. Increasing concern is the 2016 Summer Olympic Games to be hosted in Rio de Janiero, Brazil – one of the South American countries most affected by the current outbreak. Many pregnant and young news correspondents and athletes are either choosing to forgo the games, or are taking special precautions to limit the spread of the virus.


While no locally acquired infections have occurred in the contiguous United States, the mosquitos that can carry the virus, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, are native to much of the Southeast portion of the country. There also have been over 1000 reported cases of Zika in US Territories including the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Understanding the need to combat the virus, the US Department of Health and Human Services has recently awarded $5 million in federal grant funding to Federally Qualified Health Centers in Puerto Rico to help fight the spread of Zika in the US.


“The 20 health centers and their 84 service delivery sites in Puerto Rico serve over 330,000 people, including nearly 80,000 women age 15 to 45,” according to HHS. This is the beginning of what will likely be increased funding for FQHCs and CHCs to work on not only stopping the spread of the virus, but increasing prenatal and pediatric care for at-risk populations.


Health Centers will look to increase research and clinical trials as well as get better data and information on the health of local populations that may be affected. Information from a center’s Electronic Health Record (EHR) will become even more valuable in preventing the spread of virus’s like Zika, as well as improve care for affected populations such as pregnant women and their partners. Geographic Information Systems, or GIS Health Mapping, that is linkable to an EHR data can also help a Health Center see actionable data in real time.


About Hope Alfaro

Hope Alfaro (Ahl-FAH-roh) is originally from Orlando, Florida but grew up in rural NC, She is addicted to knowledge and research and integrates these passions as a Marketing Executive for Patagonia Health. She created engaging content and news and keeps up to date with the latest health news to share with readers.