In the bid to help stop the spread of the zika virus, Google has extended its charitable arm to UNICEF with a donation of $1m.
In February this year, the World Health Organization declared the zika virus a global public health emergency. Which means the virus is no longer the concern of the southern American countries and the Caribeans alone but the world at large.
The Zika virus is suspected to be linked to a large number of babies born with underdeveloped brains and small heads in affected countries.
Google’s donation to UNICEF would be channeled towards helping to create awareness about the zika virus, reduce carrier mosquito populations and support the development of vaccines to prevent further spread of the virus.
“Today we have Google engineers working with Unicef to analyse data, to determine how to map and anticipate the virus,” the company said in a post on their blog.
Google has a team of volunteers designing open-source software that will be able to gather data, such as weather and travel information, to help determine how Zika spreads.
Also, Google updated its search engine to display all available detailed information about the Zika virus which is conveniently provided in 16 different languages – for travelers around the world. Some popular YouTube channels in Latin America are being used by Google to produce information videos about the virus.
It is true that the World Health Organisation has declared the zika virus as a global health emergency like the ebola virus, but unlike ebola where aid organisations focused on getting “boots on the ground” to treat patients and prevent transmission, the attention on Zika is understanding the virus’ link with microcephaly.
Microcephaly is a condition that leaves a newborn babies with an unusually small head and underdeveloped brain.
Other big-shots and companies in the world are admonished to keep the fight against the zika virus on by making donations to health organisations to help fund the project.