Through their network of volunteers, Red Cross National Societies in the Caribbean are currently engaged in community sensitization exercises and clean-up activities in an effort to reduce the spread of zika and other mosquito-borne viruses.

Before any community outreach is conducted, volunteers are adequately trained to ensure that each volunteer is well informed and equipped to explain to neighbours what causes the zika virus, its symptoms, and ways to prevent it from spreading.

Photos: Gennike Mayers / IFRC

Taking advantage of its Vacation Camp, Antigua and Barbuda Red Cross is educating children ages 5 to 12 about the zika virus. It is hoped that this information, will be passed on to their parents.

Game time! IFRC has developed a toolkit full of games which are used in their outreach activities targeting children.

Symptoms cards are part of the game of charades, players are expected to act out the clues on the cards so that their team mates can guess correctly.

Melissa Lewis, Guyana Red Cross Field Officer, does an introduction to zika prevention at the start of a First Aid class. Since the zika outbreak began, the GRC has taken the opportunity to educate all participants enrolled in regular First Aid classes about the zika virus.

This innocent looking barrel used to collect rain water for domestic chores is often overlooked yet it is a very common breeding ground for mosquitoes. As such these barrels should be properly covered to prevent female mosquitoes from getting inside and laying their eggs.

While going house-to-house to speak to members of his community, Teddy Sukhdeo, Guyana Red Cross Field Officer, uses his smartphone to educate hearing impaired and visually impaired persons about zika. A powerpoint presentation is used for persons who are hearing-impaired while an audio-visual sequence is used for persons who are visually impaired. Thanks to technology combined with the power of humanity, Teddy and the Guyana Red Cross reach those most in need of life-saving information.

Ray Anthony Warner, Trinidad and Tobago Red Cross society  Zika Field Officer, explains to students of the Gloster Lodge Moravian Primary School how to play the zika prevention game.

Team captain Mia looks for a team mate who could win muchneeded points for the next round of charades.

Students show off the zika theme buttons they received as tokens for taking part in the zika prevention game. The Trinidad and Tobago Red Cross society is encouraging everyone to do their part to prevent zika : “You, me, community Zika free!”

Grenada Red Cross has been engaging with communities based on the sensitive geographic areas identified by the Ministry of Health. A community mapping exercise was conducted and the residents agreed to organize a clean-up in order to get rid of the mosquito breeding grounds identified prior.

Grenada Red Cross volunteers work alongside residents to ensure that their community is zika-free according to their slogan: Clean up, Cover up, Keep it up!

Avion Baptiste, Grenada Red Cross Field Officer, chats with a Shenda resident about the zika virus and how it is spread. He uses barrels to store rain water for domestic use and while the barrel is covered, water has settled on the lid transforming it into a breeding ground for mosquitoes.