The World Health Organization (WHO) says it has appealed for $56 million after launching a response plan to fight the Zika virus outbreak.
On Wednesday, the UN’s health agency said it needed $25 million to fund its own response plan and an additional $31 million to support the work of partners fighting the mosquito-borne virus.
“The strategy focuses on mobilizing and coordinating partners, experts, and resources to help countries enhance surveillance of the Zika virus and disorders that could be linked to it,” the agency said in a statement.
According to the WHO, the plan aims to “communicate risks, guidance, and protection measures, provide medical care to those affected and fast-track research and development of vaccines,” as well as testing and treatment. It also sets out to control populations of mosquito species carrying Zika.
The world body added that it was funding its initial operations under the plan from an emergency contingency fund.
The virus which has spread to 39 countries, has mostly hit the Americas, with Brazil being the hardest-hit nation.
The Zika virus, which has flu-like symptoms, is suspected to cause serious birth defects. It is most likely linked to microcephaly, in which babies born to women infected during pregnancy have abnormally small heads. It is also believed to be tied to Guillan-Barre, which can cause brain damage and even death.
The UN declared the Zika outbreak a global health emergency on February 1.