Responding Faster, Better, Stronger: CLA in the Zika Response

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Author(s):
Anne Ballard Sara
Date Published:
January 29, 2020
Contribution:
Community Contribution

Zika was declared a public health emergency of international concern by The World Health Organization (WHO) on February 1, 2016. USAID began their support to Zika in Latin America and the Caribbean in April 2016 in over 10 countries. The epidemic required rapid development and strengthening of technical expertise among partners. Bridging knowledge gaps and fostering knowledge sharing among these partners was critical to rapidly respond to the evolving emergency.

The Knowledge for Health (K4Health) Project employed a number of Collaborating, Learning and Adapting (CLA) approaches—most notably, knowledge management—to support first responders, affected countries, and communities. K4Health created the Zika Communication Network (ZCN) to connect responders with state-of-the-art knowledge and tools to use or adapt to their particular context and response plan. K4Health also launched the ZCN Partners site, a closed space for open communication between USAID’s Zika team and partners. Additionally, K4Health facilitates and hosts regional in-person share fairs, facilitates ZCN advisory group phone calls, and publishes a ZCN newsletter to support continuous learning and improvement among Zika partners.

Since its creation in June 2016, over 58,000 users have visited the ZCN website. Using the CLA approach ensured the ZCN was adaptive to emerging and changing needs of the various partners and remained a relevant platform for knowledge sharing. The institutional knowledge maintained through the ZCN will continue to be useful as Ministries of Health and other stakeholders navigate the lasting effects of the Zika virus.

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