Belize has good relations with the European Union (EU), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the World Health Organization (WHO), and that partnership has led to a grant of eight point eight million euros to improve Belize’s health sector and infrastructure. The agreement for the funds was signed today. Dr. Noreen Jack, the PAHO/WHO Representative for Belize explained how the grant will be used.
Dr.Noreen Jack, PAHO/WHO Representative in Belize: “So the first area focuses on efficient, effective disaster resilient and environmentally friendly health facilities. And as observed in other countries in the Caribbean and Central America health facilities in Belize are vulnerable to the natural disasters and effects of climate change and other weather-related disasters which may impact on the capacity of the health facilities to withstand threats – this may lead to disruption of health services and ongoing health care for communities and health care facilities and are also intensive energy users and utilize more water and products and chemicals than the average similarly sized office building. So this grant will support the development of efficient, effective disaster resilient and environmental health facilities benefitting from the more than four years experience of PAHO’s and WHO’s implementation of the different funded smart health facilities in the countries of the Caribbean. So the EU grant will focus on action in six community hospitals in Belize. The second component is on structure, organization, and management of health services and this second component is focused on health system strengthening towards the achievement of universal health. The model of care and the organizational structure of the health system must adapt to the renewed focus on health promotion and prevention in the context of primary health care. This objective includes actions for strong resilient integrated and people-centered health systems.”
Ambassador Malgorzata Wasilewska, the Head of Delegation for the European Union, also spoke about the grant on behalf of the Union.
Malrorzata Wasilewska, EU Ambassador: “The cooperation with the Ministry of Health through the work that will be delivered by PAHO is of particular importance to us. You know that the European Union is a very special project, it’s a peace project but it’s based on values and access to health and right to health is a very fundamental human right of every citizen. We are very fortunate that in Europe we enjoy very good access to health and it is our ambition and aim to make sure that we assist countries where an individual doesn’t have the same access to make sure that it becomes possible. So Dr.Jack has explained how the project is structured a little bit but the vulnerability of this country and this region to natural disasters, to climate change is enormous and it is unacceptable that the change in climate, the change in weather conditions should deprive people of this basic right and that is access to medical assistance.”
Dr. Ramon Figueroa, the CEO of the Ministry of Health spoke about one of the objectives of the grant and it is expected to improve the health sector.
Ramon Figueroa, CEO, Ministry of Health: “I think Dr.Jack has already explained and described at least two of the components of the project which will be under the administration of the Pan American Health Organization. There is a third component which is the Belize Health Information System upgrade. So there will be some resources and some activities directed at the improvement of the Belize Health Information System. So this is quite a comprehensive health sector project. It is, of course, an opportune project because it is really developed as a support for the National Health Sector Strategic Plan which was developed by the Ministry of Health and covers the period 2014-2024. So the project is not developed in a vacuum it is part of the overall strategic development for the health sector in Belize and we thank you for the support because it will go a long way in helping us to implement that strategic plan.”