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Fighting Zika Virus in rural communities

El Salvador

Meet the local nonprofit collaborating with community members to develop cost-effective solutions to fighting the Zika Virus in rural El Salvador

Who Are They?

Sepharim is run by a team of local development and healthcare professionals united in their passion to improve local infrastructure, fight infectious disease and improve the quality of maternal healthcare in their community. Using a cost-effective mosquito catcher, fresh water infrastructure and health education workshops, they have helped reduce the presence of Zika virus in their community by 80% over three years.

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"Working directly with communities means we can create more durable programs".

"We design each park to fit the unique needs of every community".

Why is their work so important?

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The outbreak of Zika Virus was so debilitating that in 2016, the government advised against pregnancy for 2 years.

(New York Times, 2017)


Breeding of mosquitos that cary Zika is most prevalent in standing water, like the tanks where rural communities store water.

(Reproductive Rights, 2018)


Zika Virus presents the greatest risk to unborn children who may develop microcephaly, unusually small heads, in the womb.

(Reproductive Rights, 2018)

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Explore this Nonprofits amazing work first-hand.

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What do they do?

In collaboration with the local community, Sepharim uses a variety of preventative measures to reduce the prevalence of Zika Virus in their community. This includes access to running water for 224 families, placing chloride in water supply and the deployment of ‘mosquito traps’ to homes.
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Mosquito Traps and Running Water

In partnership with the local ministry of health, Seraphim have worked to prevent the prevalence of Zika virus through collective infrastructure investments. In 2016, a fund was developed where each family contributes $2/month to access fresh water in their homes. With this funding, along with grants from the government and international donors, Sepharim have constructed a covered water tank and distribution system which now delivers running water to 224 homes. They also add chlorine to the water supply every 6 months to prevent the spread of infectious disease. In addition community clean-ups have been coordinated to clear waste from areas around the village that attract mosquitos.

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Community Monitoring & Evaluation

Sepharim collaborate directly with locals to help monitor the risk of Zika virus in the community. 176 households have been given a black plastic cup lined with moist adhesive paper. The cup is filled with water and allowed to rest on a table in the home for a week. Over the week, the stagnant water and scented paper attracts mosquitos. The adhesive paper traps the mosquitos and their eggs, allowing community members to count the total number each week. Using this method, they have been able to monitor the prevalence of mosquitos in real time, seeing a drop from ~180/week to less than 10. As the primary vector for Zika virus, lower levels of mosquitos means lower risk of contracting the virus. Not only does this method permit accurate monitoring of Zika virus in the community, it is also an innovative way to engage locals and educate people about the risks of the virus.

What do locals think?

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Carlos & Liz,

Sepharim Nutritionists

"It's been a big project involving lots of stakeholders, but it's great to see it reducing numbers of people infected"

Local Volunteer,

Comalapa, El Salvador

"My kids count the mosquitos each week and I feel it helps them udnerstand"


Sepharim Director

"We normally focus on maternal health, however given the impact Zika virus has had here, we had to act"

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