As of February 1, the World Health Organization has declared the Zika virus, largely across Central and South America and the Carribbean, a "public health event of international concern." They believe over 4 million people may become infected in 2016. The virus has been associated with over 4,000 cases of microcephaly, and doctors are currently studying the link between the severe birth defect and the infectious disease in Brazil and other countries.
Once discovered, the Pan American Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued announcements across the Americas calling for postponing travel to these areas, avoiding mosquito bites, safe sex practices, and in some countries, for women to consider delaying pregnancy for the next two years.
For this last call to action, addressing family planning for women, there are myriad obstacles. Over half the pregnancies in El Salvador, for example, are unintended; there are high rates of sexual violence; and there is limited access to contraceptives due to both "gatekeepers" who may not allow for access to contraceptives to women as well as legitimate "stock outs" where modern methods of contraceptives are simply unavailable.
This is a crisis.
Why did it take the Zika virus to alert the world to the need for women to have access to contraceptives and the obstacles therein?