I ask permission to enter your home today and talk about an extremely important subject. I will not talk about politics or the economy. I will talk about health, and about an urgent fight we have to wage at this moment to protect our families. A fight that must unite us all.
I call on each of you to fight together against the spread of the mosquito that transmits the Zika virus. This virus, only recently introduced in Brazil and Latin America, is no longer a distant nightmare. It has become a real threat to the homes of all Brazilians. When it attacks pregnant women, it may impair brain development of the fetus, causing microcephaly.
The Zika virus, transmitted by the mosquito, has no nationality. It began in Africa, spread throughout Southeast Asia and Oceania and is now in Latin America. And thi movement happened exceptionally fast, having begun only last year.
The mosquito that transmits the Zika virus may be in your neighbor's house. It may be in your home, if there are breeding sites, which consist of standing water in wate tanks, flowerpots, pools, culverts, bottles, tires, or any container discarded as waste.
All the mosquito needs to do is lay its eggs in standing water, clean or dirty, in order to breed, proliferate and bite people, thus infecting them. While waiting for the development of a vaccine against the Zika virus, we must fight the mosquito. And the most effective way to do it is not letting it breed, by destroying its breeding sites more than two thirds of which are within our homes.
The war against the mosquito that transmits the Zika virus is complex, because it must be waged everywhere and therefore requires the engagement of all. If we join forces, the way to fight it becomes simple. We cannot admit defeat, because victory depends on our determination to eliminate the breeding sites.
I repeat: all we must do is to prevent the mosquito from breeding in standing water. If the mosquito is not born, the Zika virus has no way to live.
The main instrument is in our hands: constant care in our homes, our workplaces, our schools, in public places and everywhere, so that they do not become homes for the mosquito that transmits the Zika virus.
The government is putting together all of the financial, technological and human resources we need in this fight for life. We are also seeking partnerships with various international laboratories so that we can develop the vaccine as quickly as possible. I talked to President Obama and we agreed to collaborate on this challenge.
On Saturday the 13th we will begin a mega-operation involving 220,000 men and women of the Armed Forces. State and local governments have also been mobilized. We will spread throughout the country and, together with endemics and health professionals and with you, we will visit the largest possible number of homes to destroy mosquito breeding sites.
We will also wage this fight in all units of the federal government and in all states of the Federation. We will eliminate breeding sites in military barracks, in healthcar units and in all government buildings. Every federal public servant must become a fighter against the mosquito and its reproduction.
We all must get involved in this real battle. We need the help and goodwill of all. Collaborate! Mobilize your family and your community.
I insist: since science has not yet developed a vaccine against the Zika virus, the only truly effective medicine we have to prevent this disease is a vigorous fight against the mosquito.
I would now like to convey a special word of comfort to the Brazilian women, especially to mothers and expectant mothers. We will do everything - absolutely everythin - in our power to protect you. We will do everything - absolutely everything - to support the children affected by microcephaly and their families.
We are mobilizing the healthcare network and social assistance networks, providing all the resources necessary to help them take care of the children affected by microcephaly. Please, help us protect them. Let us form a great army of peace and health with the strength of 204 million Brazilian men and women.
We will prove, once again, that Brazil is strong, that it has a conscious people, and that it will not be defeated by a mosquito and the virus it carries. More than ever Brazil needs our union!
Thank you and good night.
President of the Federative Republic of Brazil – Speeches