HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state is getting more than $1 million in federal funding to aid in the fight against the Zika virus, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Friday.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention awarded a total of $1,027,623 to the state Department of Health for Zika preparedness and response activities.
"We're grateful for this federal support to help address Hawaii's risk for mosquito-borne diseases and better enable us to protect the public's health," said Dr. Sarah Park, state epidemiologist.
Although state health officials said Zika is not an immediate threat to Hawaii, they are still preparing for the mosquito-borne virus, in case it spreads to the state. The most alarming element of Zika has been its link to a serious birth defect called microcephaly, in which babies are born with small heads and brains.
The new federal funding will aim to do the following:
- Plan and implement statewide training exercises with each county to test Zika response plans.
- Fund a communications staff position dedicated to arbovirus public information and awareness outreach.
- Develop and maintain improved webpages for Hawaii Department of Health programs involved in Zika preparedness and response.
- Procure and implement Zika enhancements for Hawaii’s electronic disease surveillance system.
- Conduct community-based outreach in collaboration with private and public sector partners, statewide.
- Develop educational resources to reach at-risk populations including pregnant women, travelers, limited-English speaking communities, and other vulnerable populations.
- Develop other targeted outreach that will focus on providing resources for healthcare providers to post and disseminate at clinician offices and other healthcare facilities as well as engaging and empowering youth in actively contributing to disease prevention messaging.