As Zika continues to spread throughout Florida, the state experienced its 43rd non-travel case yesterday (August 24) in Palm Beach County. However, the real concern is the 70 cases that involve pregnant women. The virus has proven most harmful to fetuses, who can be born with smaller heads and brain deformities after exposure.
In response, Planned Parenthood of South, East and North Florida announced its six-week canvassing program yesterday to educate communities and help them achieve their family planning needs. Canvassers have already begun going door-to-door with information on Zika. The group expects to reach 25,000 homes in the Miami area and have already visited about 500. The information they will share is intended to inform Miami residents of the virus’ ability to transmit through sex, which a June 2016 survey found that only 49 percent of the public knows.
The program is placing a special emphasis on “women of reproductive age in medically underserved areas,” according to a release. These include many of the state’s Latina and Haitian women. Florida has the highest concentration of Haitian immigrants, according to Migration Policy. It also has the third highest population of Latinxs, according to the Pew Research Center. Planned Parenthood will distribute materials in English, Spanish and Haitian Creole.
According to the release:
Communities already facing disparities in gaining access to health care services are especially at risk for any public health crisis like Zika. Florida has the 3rd highest Latino population of all 50 states; Latinas already face disproportionate access to health care, putting them at greater risk of not receiving adequate Zika prevention and care. Planned Parenthood works every day to ensure that all people and their families have high quality health care and education, no matter who they are or where they live.