Patricia Guadalupe González lives in Colonia San Jacinto in the municipality of Quezaltepeque, La Libertad, El Salvador. Together with 412 families, she is benefiting from the actions implemented as part of the Community Action on Zika (CAZ) project.

Salvadorian Red Cross’ volunteers and project coordinators carried out a field visit in Quezaltepeque with the aim of putting into practice the knowledge acquired in the training workshop “Psychosocial Support on Zika’’. Volunteers of different communities where the project is currently being implemented participated in the workshop, which was held on 10-13th of April.

“The practical part of the psychosocial support workshop consisted in working with community actors, such as nursing staff, school staff and community members to offer support to people who suffer from Guillain-Barre syndrome and provide information on the Zika virus”, explained Carolina Picado Díaz, trainer on psychosocial support from the Reference Centre for Institutional Disaster Preparedness in El Salvador and member of the Nicaraguan Red Cross.

Colonia San Jacinto’s community members, Patricia Gonzalez amongst them, welcomed the initiative as it has helped them to become knowledgeable on mosquito-borne diseases. Patricia said: “This information is important because now we know what Zika is; we acquired knowledge on it thanks to the Red Cross’’.

Volunteers trained in psychosocial support addressed the issues of self-esteem, stress, crisis and psychological first aid while working with people that suffer from the disease.

“This isn’t something we can always enjoy: we welcomed this information we are now getting involved in activities because we know about the disease”, emphasized Patricia.

Oscar Ordonez, project coordinator, explains that training on psychosocial support is one of the main components of the CAZ project. Vector control, epidemiologic surveillance and community communication are also among the main objectives of the project.

Moreover, he highlights that the actions implemented as part of the project aim to bring knowledge, abilities and skills to the community, so that community members can follow up on Zika cases and bring direct emotional and psychological support to those affected.

The Salvadorian Red Cross is implementing the Community Action on Zika project in communities of San Salvador, La Libertad and San Vicente, thanks to the financial support of USAID, Save the Children and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.