In June 2016, FEMA announced the availability of federal grant resources to support preparedness and response capabilities to fight the mosquito virus, Zika. The funding is available through multiple sources that include the CDC, ASPR and FEMA.
Although the Zika virus has present for many decades, it has recently become known as an emerging increased public health threat, often referred to as the “new mosquito virus” by many. In February 2016, the World Health Organization declared Zika “a public health emergency of international concern.” In June 2016 when funding was announced, there were no confirmed cases in the US due to local transmission. Since then, things have changed greatly. There are now several areas of the country that have confirmed local transmission cases, and the need for public health agencies to prepare for Zika in the United States has gone from theoretical to reality.
There are currently two funding opportunities available for state and local agencies looking to prepare for Zika:
- Public Health Preparedness and Response Cooperative Agreement for All-Hazards Public Health Emergencies: Zika 2016 (CDC-RFA-TP16-1602)
A risk-based formula similar to the one used for the Public Health Emergency Preparedness program funding distribution will be used to allocate the available funds through this program. Funding is intended to be used to increase readiness and response capabilities within the jurisdictions. The goal is to reduce the spread of the Zika virus and decrease maternal-fetal transmission. The primary focus of the funding is to:
- Strengthen public health incident management and emergency operations
- Strengthen information management and sharing
- Strengthen community resilience
These three areas are effectively addressed through investments in technology that support case tracking, needs assessment, public health alerting, and incident management. Additionally, when the primary focus areas have been achieved, any remaining funding can be utilized to support other Zika related activities such as vector control, health surveillance, laboratory testing, or blood safety measures.
Finally, it is important to note that an amendment to the original funding announcement allows awardees to also report expenses that occur prior to the August 1, 2016 award date.
- Surveillance, intervention, and referral to services for infants with microcephaly or other adverse outcomes linked with Zika virus (CDC-RFA-DD16-1605)
This recently announced CDC funding opportunity support activities geared toward surveillance, intervention and referral services for infants with adverse outcomes that are linked to the Zika virus. Activities included are:
- Rapid population-based surveillance of microcephaly and associated adverse outcomes
- Participation in centralized clinical surveillance data projects
- Referral services for families and infants that are affected by the Zika virus
- Ongoing assessment of the heath and development of infants affected by Zika
The CDC will be developing a national registry of pregnant women who have proven laboratory evidence of being infected with the Zika virus. The CDC includes full or partial funding of a Registry Coordinator in states that do not have the funding to conduct pregnancy related surveillance activities. The program is intended to inform families of clinical recommendations, plan for services for the pregnant woman and her family, and work to improve prevention.
The recent announcement also notes that current HPP funding can be used for Zika related activities including action plan development, purchase of supplies for healthcare facilities and training of staff. These activities must be reasonable, allowed under the current cost principles and be allocable to the program.
How is your public health agency working with these funding opportunities? What is your agency doing to increase information management and sharing? How has Zika changed your incident management processes? Let us know in the comment section below!