More than just a kiss, but a symbol of love. “I always wanted to be a mother,” says Michele, whose daughter Ayla was born with microcephaly, a birth defect associated with Zika that causes malformation of the head and is linked to irregular brain growth, learning disabilities, epilepsy and other problems.
In Brazil, the worst-affected of the 62 countries that have recorded mosquito-borne Zika transmission, UNFPA is improving women’s access to reproductive health – including referrals to specialized care for pregnant women with Zika. “I have nothing to complain about. I don’t feel ashamed of my daughter. I just thank God for giving me her,” says Michele.