As the public health and healthcare communities respond to the Zika Virus in the United States, quality improvement (QI) tools and techniques can be helpful for preparing for and reacting to local infections. QI’s focus on systems and processes can help state, tribal, local, and territorial health departments prepare plans, designate point people, assess gaps, and implement and improve strategies. The Public Health Foundation (PHF) is working with five local health department vector control programs to refine and implement the Vector Control Population Health Driver Diagram. In collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Center for Environmental Health, PHF is providing on-site technical assistance and training with QI tools and techniques to increase vector control program efficiency and effectiveness.
Four of these local health departments have chosen to focus on preparation and response to Zika, using the 10 Essential Environmental Public Health Services as a guide to create interventions in their communities. Working with PHF Senior Quality Advisor Jack Moran, St. Louis County Department of Public Health (Missouri), Tulsa Health Department (Oklahoma), Madison County Health Department (Alabama), and New Hanover County Health Department (North Carolina) are focusing on mosquito control.
The Madison County Health Department and the New Hanover County Health Department are focused on the education and communication drivers of the Vector Control Population Health Driver Diagram. Both are partnering with local schools to build curriculum on vector control and create educational materials. New Hanover County has created a word search, a set of presentations, and a brochure on the Aedes albopictus mosquito (also known as the Asian Tiger mosquito) in English and Spanish. Madison County developed a Zika Guide for Environmentalists and a Zika Checklist of Common Mosquito Breeding Grounds. Madison County also collaborated with the Alabama State Health Department to create a Zika Coloring Book. The St. Louis County Department of Public Health and Tulsa Health Department vector control programs are focused on surveillance activities and building partnerships between government agencies.
CDC’s risk-based preparedness and response guidance for states aligns well with the 10 Essential Environmental Public Health Services and the chosen focus of PHF’s local health department partners. CDC is advising high-risk states to provide public information, particular to vulnerable populations such as pregnant women, prepare and conduct surveillance activities, coordinate with partners, and perform mosquito control activities. States with Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that also spread Dengue Fever and Chikungunya will likely see the highest rates of Zika virus, but Aedes albopictus has also been proven a competent vector. Other QI tools and techniques such as AIM statements, the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle, and the Prioritization Matrix may also be helpful for planning and responding to emerging public health concerns.
See more examples of how PHF has used QI tools and techniques to address crucial public health issues by reading about the Antibiotic Stewardship Program and the Diabetes Population Health Driver Diagram Project. For more information about PHF’s work in vector control or contact Vanessa Lamers at email@example.com or 202-218-4412.