Cartoon Network and its partners the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) are launching a new Public Service Announcement aimed at educating children in Latin America and the Caribbean about controlling the spread of the Zika virus, which continues to affect vulnerable populations in the region.
“Dear friends. Thanks to your bravery, Mission Zika phase 1 was completed. But the fight heats up again when it rains. You must locate and remove all mosquito breeding sites in your home and school…”
With those words, Cartoon Network Latin America begins broadcasting the second phase of “Mission Zika”, a joint educational campaign using a mix of live action and animation in public service announcements to empower children to help prevent Zika by eliminating mosquito breeding sites and taking other simple actions at home and school. The spots are being broadcast in Spanish, Portuguese and English.
The new campaign reflects the continuing collaboration between the children’s leading entertainment brand and two leading United Nations agencies: PAHO, which works to improve health in all the countries in the Americas, and UNICEF, which works to protect children worldwide. The campaign was first launched in May 2016 to raise awareness about the Zika virus, which continues to threaten the region, affecting pregnant women and their babies in particular.
In the campaign, mission instructions that kids can download call on all young “superheroes” to help stop the spread of the virus and protect themselves, their families and neighborhoods. “…You must locate and remove all mosquito breeding sites in your home and school, such as water in barrels, old tires, bowls for pets, even bottle caps; fill plant pots with sand; put screens on windows and doors; use insect repellant and advise women who are pregnant to wear long sleeves and long skirts or pants. Take cover! We must stop these dangerous creatures from multiplying. Our fate is in your hands!”
“As the Zika virus and other mosquito-borne diseases remain a threat in many communities, we are pleased to work with Cartoon Network Latin America and UNICEF to enlist the public, especially young people, to prevent the spread of the infection in the Americas,” said Dr. Carissa F. Etienne, director of PAHO. “Our most important tool to combat Zika—and at the same time, dengue and chikungunya—is control of the Aedes mosquitoes that live in and around houses and bite people. As children learn the facts from this Cartoon Network campaign, they can help prevent disease and save lives by reducing the number of mosquitoes.”
“Through The Cartoon Movement we remain committed to the health and well-being of the audiences we serve. Cartoon Network’s Latin America’s broad media reach as a kids' entertainment brand is a fantastic tool to continue to help combat Zika in the region,” said Barry Koch, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Cartoon Network, Boomerang and Tooncast Latin America. “We are counting on the children to share the message and help modify habits in the places where they live and play.”
Never before in Latin America has an infection transmitted by a mosquito resulted in such devastating neurological and other abnormalities with long-term consequences for both children and their families. For this reason, prevention of Zika virus transmission is of utmost importance, particularly in the most vulnerable communities. “Children are key actors to promote prevention activities at home, in schools and in their communities everywhere. This campaign will ensure that children and their families have more information about the means of transmission and prevention, so they can play their role in stopping the spread of Zika virus,” said Maria Cristina Perceval, UNICEF Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean.