The CDC Foundation has announced the launch of an initiative aimed at giving women in Puerto Rico access to improved contraception options during the Zika outbreak.
The Zika Contraception Access Network (Z-CAN) will provide women in Puerto Rico with information, counseling, and a full range of same-day contraceptive options free of charge. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 65 percent of all pregnancies in Puerto Rico are unintended, and approximately one hundred and thirty-eight thousand women of childbearing age are in need of effective contraception and counseling.
Initial funding for Z-CAN has been provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Pfizer Foundation, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, while pharmaceutical companies have pledged large-scale product donations. To date, the CDC Foundation has trained hundreds of physicians and staff and secured funding to provide contraception, information, and counseling to fourteen thousand women, but an additional $18 million is needed to reach tens of thousands more women.
"We are deeply grateful to all donors and partners who have stepped forward to support this prevention strategy and reduce the occurrence of devastating Zika-related birth defects," said Judith A. Monroe, president and CEO of the CDC Foundation. "Z-CAN is a comprehensive program that was developed and implemented in record time, but we urgently need additional funding to bring this program to scale and mitigate the negative consequences of the Zika outbreak in Puerto Rico."