Brazil Studies Program Seminar Series: Impact of the Zika Virus Outbreak on Brazilian Fertility


Thursday, March 23, 2017, 12:00pm to 2:00pm


CGIS South, S-050, 1730 Cambridge Street

Live streaming will be available on the DRCLAS Facebook page.

Speaker: Marcia Castro, Associate Professor, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Moderator:  Frances Hagopian, Jorge Paulo Lemann Senior Lecturer on Government, Harvard University

The association between Zika Virus and birth malformations (including microcephaly) spurred government leaders to suggest that women should postpone having babies for a few years. The statement ignores the fact that about 58% of pregnancies in Latin America are not intended; rates of sexual violence are high in the region; and despite being illegal, more than 4 million abortions were performed in Latin America in 2008, about 95% under unsafe conditions. The talk will reflect on these issues and present some data for the Brazilian context.

Marcia Castro 

Marcia Castro is Associate Professor of Demography in the Department of Global Health and Population at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She serves as a member of the Faculty Advisory Committee of the Brazil Studies Program at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies (DRCLAS), of the Brazil Studies Program Steering Group at DRCLAS, of the Center for Geographic Analysis (CGA) Steering Committee, and of the scientific committee of the collaborative Núcleo Ciência Pela Infância (NCPI). Her research focuses on the development and use of multidisciplinary approaches, combining data from different sources (e.g., administrative records, household surveys, and satellite images), to identify the determinants of vector-borne disease transmission in different ecological settings, providing evidence for the improvement of current control policies, as well as the development of new ones.

She has more than 17 years of research experience in the Brazilian Amazon, has published extensively on several aspects of frontier malaria, and in 2015 launched a major collaborative effort to initiate the first birth cohort study from the prenatal period in the Amazon. Castro has long standing collaborations with Brazilian researchers, Health Secretariats, and the Ministry of Health in many studies, particularly related to infectious diseases and early childhood development. Since last December, she has been engaged in Zika virus data analysis and research studies. Castro earned her PhD in Demography from Princeton University.