Faculty Articles

Pregnancy and Zika: The Quest for Quality Care and Reproductive Justice



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Puerto Rico health sciences journal




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University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus


On February 1, 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ZIKV virus outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). Pregnant women and their infants, are vulnerable to the impact of this vector-borne illness (mosquito) and sexually transmitted viral infection. The uncertainty surrounding the possibility of congenital anomalies due to ZIKV infection during pregnancy bring a renewed debate about the rights of women to control their reproductive decisions. Current strategies, resources and services aimed at prevention priorities fall short of responding to a clear framework regarding sexual reproductive health, rights and justice. A comprehensive approach to reproduction, in times of Zika, needs to empower women of reproductive age and their families to make decisions and to act on those decisions. This paper highlights the contributions of the Maternal-Infant Studies Center (CEMI-Spanish Acronym) in close collaboration with the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology of the University of the Puerto Rico School of Medicine and the University Hospital in providing comprehensive health care to pregnant women with ZIKV or at risk of ZIKV, at the very onset of the epidemic. CEMI approaches the care of pregnant women from a reproductive justice perspective, integrating clinical services, education, research, and advocacy. Transformación Prenatal (Centering Group Prenatal Care, GPC) currently implemented at the Puerto Rico University Hospital High Risk Clinics has been pivotal to achieve this aim. Based on the health professionals' experiences and women's testimonies, we articulate a set of principles and key actions that would benefit women, their family and children.


Medicine and Health Sciences | Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences


Disease Outbreaks, Epidemics, Female, Humans, Infant, Newborn, Pregnancy, Pregnancy Complications, Infectious, Public Health, Puerto Rico, Quality of Health Care, Reproductive Health, Reproductive Rights, Social Justice, Zika Virus Infection

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