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Hawai‘i to Receive Over $1M for Zika Fight

July 1, 2016, 10:05 AM HST
* Updated July 1, 10:09 AM
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Sen. Mazie Hirono and Gov. David Ige get a firsthand look at Hawaii Biotech’s developement of a Zika virus vaccine. Photo courtesy Office of Sen. Mazie Hirono.

Sen. Mazie Hirono and Gov. David Ige get a firsthand look at Hawaii Biotech’s developement of a Zika virus vaccine. Photo courtesy Office of Sen. Mazie Hirono.

Hawai‘i will receive more than $1 million in federal grant funding to fight Zika.

“This funding will help support efforts to protect Hawai‘i from Zika and other mosquito-borne illnesses,” said US Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. “Being able to protect ourselves from the threat of a locally-transmitted Zika infection means being prepared and knowing how to respond.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention awarded a total of $1,027,623 to the Hawai‘i State Department of Health for Zika preparedness and response activities.

“We’re grateful for this federal support to help address Hawai‘i’s risk for mosquito-borne diseases and better enable us to protect the public’s health,” said Dr. Sarah Y. Park, Hawai‘i state epidemiologist and chief of the Disease Outbreak Control Division.

This critical new funding will help with coordination of health incident management and emergency operations for the state. It will also improve information management and sharing, and strengthen community recovery and resilience.

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Hawai‘i plans to use the new funding to:

  • 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 Hawai‘i Department of Health programs involved in Zika preparedness and response.
  • Procure and implement Zika enhancements for Hawai‘i’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.
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Sen. Schatz has been vocal in calling for funding and coordination to improve vector-control programs and stop the spread of both dengue and Zika.

Earlier this month, Schatz was named to the House-Senate conference committee on Zika funding. In April, he visited the CDC headquarters and met with top officials to discuss the organization’s response to outbreaks of dengue and Zika.

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