Statement of Dr Jennifer Howse President March Of Dimes On House Of Representatives Passage Of Legislation To Fight Zika Virus

September 28, 2016

The March of Dimes released today the following statement from President Dr. Jennifer L. Howse regarding Senate passage of H.R. 5325, legislation containing funding for federal, state, tribal and local agencies to fight the Zika virus:

"The March of Dimes applauds action tonight by the House of Representatives to provide $1.1 billion in federal funding to protect pregnant women and their babies from the devastating birth defects caused by Zika virus. We are deeply thankful that Congress has finally acted to address this crisis in public health; however, the passage of Zika funding is only the first step down a very long road.

"The March of Dimes is proud to have led a coalition of almost 100 organizations since mid-March in an effort to educate Congress about the dangers of Zika and press for passage of federal funding to combat the virus. This effort included hundreds of meetings with Congressional offices, numerous letters each signed by dozens of organizations, op-eds and social media campaigns, and regular conversations with Congressional leadership. The March of Dimes is also profoundly grateful to the thousands of our volunteers and supporters who sent messages to Congress calling for a Zika package. These voices calling for aid have finally been heeded."

"At this time, there are more than 2,000 pregnant women with possible Zika infection among the 23,000 infected people in this country, and the epidemic shows no sign of slowing. Resources are desperately need to fund the elimination of Zika-carrying mosquitos, development of a vaccine, and delivery of appropriate health care to affected children and families. In the coming years, a sustained commitment will be critical to control the spread of Zika and deal with its aftermath."

"In a recent survey commissioned by the March of Dimes and NORC at the University of Chicago, more than 60 percent of Americans expressed concern that the United States will see a large number of Zika infections -- and they have good reason to worry. Although summer has given way to fall, in some parts of the nation mosquitoes are a year-round threat, so those communities need help immediately. And other areas must get to work now to put the right personnel, plans, and tools in place for next year."

"The March of Dimes #ZAPzika education campaign provides information to consumers of all ages with five essential tips in English at and in Spanish at nacersano,org/zika. We will continue working tirelessly until America’s mothers and babies are protected from the dangers of Zika virus."