Social and economic impacts of congenital Zika syndrome in Brazil: Study protocol and rationale for a mixed-methods study
Global concern broke out in late 2015 as thousands of children in Brazil were born with microcephaly, which was quickly linked to congenital infection with Zika virus (ZIKV). ZIKV is now known to cause a wider spectrum of severe adverse outcomes—congenital Zika syndrome (CZS)—and also milder impairments. This study aimed to explore the social and economic impacts of CZS in Brazil. Data was collected through mixed methods across two settings: Recife City and Jaboatão dos Guararapes in Pernambuco State (the epicentre of the epidemic), and the city of Rio de Janeiro (where reports of ZIKV infection and CZS were less frequent). Data was collected May 2017-January 2018. Ethical standards were adhered to throughout the research. In-depth qualitative interviews were conducted with: mothers and other carers of children with CZS (approximately 30 per setting), pregnant women (10-12 per setting), men and women of child-bearing age (16-20 per setting), and health professionals (10-12 per setting). Thematic analysis was undertaken independently by researchers from at least two research settings, and these were shared for feedback.
A case-control study was undertaken to quantitatively explore social and economic differences between caregivers of a child with CZS (cases) and caregivers with an unaffected child (controls). We aimed to recruit 100 cases and 100 controls per setting, from existing studies. The primary caregiver, usually the mother, was interviewed using a structured questionnaire to collect information on: depression, anxiety, stress, social support, family quality of life, health care and social service use, and costs incurred by families. Multivariable logistic regression analyses were used to compare outcomes for cases and controls. Costs incurred as a result of CZS were estimated from the perspective of the health system, families and society. Modelling was undertaken to estimate the total economic burden of CZS from those three perspectives.