Miami, FL—Today, Planned Parenthood of South, East and North Florida (PPSENFL) announced a six-week community canvass to educate local communities — especially women of reproductive age in medically underserved areas — about the Zika virus, mosquito transmission, sexual transmission, travel-associated risks, and prevention of Zika. Details about the community outreach program can be found here.
The goal of the canvass program is to educate local Miami communities, many of whom are Latino and Haitian, about the Zika virus. It will also help connect community members to local health services, including family planning. The canvass will reach approximately 25,000 doors in predominately Latino and Haitian neighborhoods. Materials will be available in English, Spanish, and Haitian Creole.
“As a trusted health care provider, Planned Parenthood is proud to support the needs of the South Florida community with this community canvass. Florida, ground zero for local Zika transmission, is among the worst states in the nation when it comes to women’s health and well-being,” said Lillian Tamayo, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of South, East and North Florida (PPSENFL). “Governor Scott has significantly cut budgets to local health departments, refused Medicaid expansion, backed legislation aimed at gutting family planning services, and attempted to block access to care at Planned Parenthood.
“You cannot have a Zika strategy that focuses on mosquitos, but not women. It is past time for meaningful action to combat this virus. Our leaders must put women and families at the center of the Zika response and fund family planning and education efforts,” continued Tamayo.
Medical experts, including the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), agree that family planning should be the primary strategy to reduce the Zika-related pregnancy complications. More than a third of Florida counties don’t have an ob-gyn provider. Florida is already tied for last when it comes to women’s health and well-being, and is facing some of the highest cervical cancer rates in the nation. Florida has the third highest number of gonorrhea infections and the highest number of annual HIV diagnoses in the nation.
Currently, too many people lack critical information about the Zika public health crisis. For example, according to a recent survey, half of Americans don’t know that Zika can be sexually transmitted.
“So many in our community depend upon Planned Parenthood for health care. So, I am proud to stand with them today as they go out into the community to educate the community about the Zika crisis,” said Congresswoman Frederica Wilson (D-FL) at a press conference Wednesday. “This is being very politicized and it’s a shame because it is hurting people. Call me back to Washington D.C. and let’s pass a clean bill to address the Zika public health crisis. Time is of the essence, and we have no time to waste.”
In addition to the canvass, Planned Parenthood health centers in the Miami area are providing Zika prevention kits for patients who are pregnant and plan to continue the pregnancy or who are undecided, as well as for women who are planning to become pregnant. Per CDC recommendations, the Zika prevention kits will include mosquito repellant, standing water treatment tablets, condoms, dental dams, and educational materials in English and Spanish.
“There is no way to fight the Zika public health crisis without comprehensive access to reproductive health care,” said Dr. Christopher Estes, Chief Medical Officer of Planned Parenthood of South, East and North Florida (PPSENFL). “With Zika starting to spread, it’s important for Floridians to get accurate, up-to-date information from expert sources. As a trusted provider of reproductive health care in this community, and an expert in helping women choose the birth control that will be best for them, this work is a natural and necessary extension of the critical role we play every day in Florida communities.”
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.
For nearly 100 years, Planned Parenthood has been a trusted provider of high quality information, education, and resources regarding reproductive health, including the full range of contraceptive options.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With over 650 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America media office: 212-261-4433
August 24, 2016