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Health

Contraceptives to fight Zika can't get to Puerto Rico

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Health

Contraceptives to fight Zika can't get to Puerto Rico

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COMING UP:Contraceptives to fight Zika can't get to Puerto Rico

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Transcript

00:00:01
>> Hoping to protect Puerto Rico from the most devastating effects of the Zika virus, leading healthcare companies have donated tens of thousands of contraceptives including IUDs and birth control pills for distribution. That's the good news. The bad news? There's not enough money to deliver them from the warehouse into people's hands Reuter's correspondent Jillian Mincer has the exclusive story.
00:00:22
>> The CDC foundation has to raise another $20 million to get those donations from the United States to the doctors. They also have to pay for training and pay the doctors, and that sounds a little strange, but for the last almost three decades most insurance did not cover IUDs and contraceptives in Puerto Rico and most doctors didn't stock them.
00:00:46
They also need hands-on training for IUDs. IUDs need to be carefully inserted and also taken out properly.>> Puerto Rico is especially vulnerable to an outbreak of mosquito born Zika. Which can cause a debilitating birth defect in which babies are born with smaller than normal heads. Over 17,000 cases have already been confirmed on the island.
00:01:07
More than 190 of them in pregnant women. And the CDC estimates that as much as a quarter of the territory's 3.5 million people could be infected by the virus this year. Adding to the problem is Puerto Rico's massive financial crisis, which has mired the Commonwealth in a decade long recession.
00:01:23
>> Because the financial situation is so dire in Puerto Rico so many of it's trained doctors have already left. Many who've stayed behind really can't afford to be there because the Medicaid reimbursement rates in Puerto Rico are among the lowest. I was told by doctors down there that they can't even afford to pay many of their staffs.
00:01:42
>> While the CDC has trained about 2 dozen doctors so far, and has raised enough money to provide about 700 women with free services. With about 138,000 women at risk for unwanted pregnancies, the agency says it will need much more.