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Sense International Calls For Global Commitment To Those Affected By The Zika Virus

February 3, 2016

A press release:


Global deafblind charity welcomes WHO’s declaration of a public health emergency


–         International community encouraged to plan long-term to support those affected by Zika virus–


–         Sense International has expertise in working with children with deafblindness and other associated disabilities linked to microcephaly –

Sense International today responded to the announcement from The World Health Organization that the recent cluster of microcephaly and other neurological abnormalities linked to the Zika virus outbreak, predominately in Latin America, constitutes a “public health emergency of international concern.”

Yesterday, WHO Director General, Margaret Chan, called Zika an “extraordinary event” that required a global co-ordinated response.  Sense International supports the WHO’s declaration as a call to action that will mobilise the necessary resources and international focus to prevent the further spread of the Zika virus.

Sense International encourages the WHO, Governments and donors to not forget in their response to this public health emergency, that long term measures and resources will also need to be put into place to ensure the rights of the children born with microcephaly can access the early intervention, education, life and vocational training that they will need to reach their full potential.

Gill Morbey OBE, Chief Executive of Sense and Sense International, said:


“We welcome the World Health Organisation’s commitment to addressing the growing numbers of babies being born with microcephaly and other associated neurological abnormalities, through its focus on containing and eliminating the Zika virus.”

“Sense was founded by families of those born with congenital rubella syndrome during the Rubella outbreak of the 1950s and 60s in Britain. We know from experience that the right support is crucial to helping a deadfblind person develop to their full potential.

“We encourage the international community to develop the measures and resources that will be required to ensure that the children and families affected by the virus receive the support they will need.”

“Sense International will focus on providing advice and support to those countries most affected.”

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