Wilson Center Event: How Zika Is Shaping the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Agenda

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We are excited to announce the upcoming dialogue, How Zika Is Shaping the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Agenda, on Tuesday, April 12 in Washington, DC. This event is part of the Maternal Health Task Force’s Advancing Dialogue on Maternal Health Series, in partnership with UNFPA and the Wilson Center.

As an international public health emergency with strong links to birth defects, the rampant spread of the Zika virus has garnered significant attention in the maternal health community. With both the transmission and implications of the virus intrinsically tied to the most disadvantaged women and their sexual and reproductive health and rights, the Zika outbreak presents an opportunity to set the conversation on access, quality, and equity of sexual and reproductive health care in affected countries.

Interested in attending? See the invitation from the Wilson Center below to learn more details and register for the event.

When: Tuesday, April 12, 2016 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm EDT. Light fare included.

Where: The Wilson Center, 6th Floor Auditorium, Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, One Woodrow Wilson Plaza, 1300 Pennsylvania, Ave., NW, Washington, D.C. 20004

On February 1, the World Health Organization declared the cluster of microcephaly cases associated with the Zika virus an international public health emergency. The virus is spreading throughout more than 20 countries and territories in the Americas predominantly via the Aedes mosquito, but sexual transmission is also possible. Some governments of affected countries, such as Brazil and El Salvador, have issued advisories to women to avoid pregnancy – in El Salvador’s case, for the next two years.

However, women in many of these countries have limited if any access to contraceptive and reproductive health services to prevent pregnancy. If they do become pregnant, finding and using maternal and newborn health services is equally challenging. The outbreak is especially detrimental to the most disadvantaged women in low income and rural areas, where sanitation is poor and resources are low.

How can the global health community frame and lead the dialogue about women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights in Zika-infected areas? How can the Zika response be an opportunity to bolster health infrastructure and capacity in affected countries? Join us April 12 at the Wilson Center as we explore these questions and discuss solutions.


Marcia Castro, Associate Professor of Demography, Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Jaime Nadal Roig, Representative to Brazil, United Nations Population Fund


Alaka Basu, Senior Fellow, United Nations Foundation

Anne Burke, Associate Professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Chloë Cooney, Director of Global Advocacy, Planned Parenthood Federation of America

Françoise Girard, President, International Women’s Health Coalition

Representative from the Pan American Health Organization (Invited)


Laura Laski, Chief of Sexual and Reproductive Health, United Nations Population Fund

Roger-Mark De Souza, Director of Population, Environmental Security, and Resilience, Wilson Center


Congressman Eliot Engel, U.S. Member of the House of Representatives, New York 16th Congressional District

Event Details

Register for the event here.

Want to attend but can’t?
Tune in to the live or archived webcast at WilsonCenter.org (archived webcasts go up after the meeting).

Media guests, including TV crews, should RSVP directly with Francesca Cameron. Media bringing heavy electronics MUST indicate this in their response so they may be admitted into the building.

Join the conversation on Twitter at @NewSecurityBeat and @MHTF and by following #MHdialogue. To find more coverage of these issues on the Wilson Center’s blog, NewSecurityBeat.org.

See a video of the event>>