The Ministry of Health along with other stakeholders are combining their efforts and resources to tackle common issues. Today, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) partnered in collaboration with the Ministry of Health hosted a meeting in Belize. Dr. Miguel De Paz, Chief Veterinary Officer at the Belize Agricultural Health Authority spoke on the issues and efforts being made.
Dr.Miguel De Paz, Chief Veterinary Officer, BAHA: “The objective of the workshop is to review the coordination and the collaboration between the different entities as it relates to health and the approach we are taking is ‘One Health’ so it involves animal health, human health and therefore the whole idea is to strengthen that collaboration that we have. It is important that we join forces not to duplicate effort and so that we provide a more effective service as it relates to health. Many of the diseases that affect humans are also animal diseases, it’s about 60%, therefor the importance of doing work as one entity. The presence of these diseases could create a crisis, many of these diseases could be pandemic for example the H5N1 which had that potential and we are a country that have experienced previously diseases which could really affect the human population and the animal population.”
According to Dr. Russell Manzanero, Epidemiologist, Ministry of Health, this initiative is not the first of its kind.
Dr.Russell Manzanero, Epidemiologist, Ministry of Health: “What we’re trying to follow up on is a follow up to what we have been doing in the past. I mean we’ve tried to address certain public health events and of course with public health events it’s not only human health but animal health and we have other agencies that are involved in the response to how we do public health events. We actually came on board in 2016 to talk about what were gaps in addressing where we should be working to actually have a coordinated response. So with that now we’re actually getting some capacity training that we’re actually building and identifying so we actually brought agencies here and as they mentioned before we actually have support from PAHO, WHO who are here as well, OIE, who have been lending us a hand to actually work now together with the other agencies. Here today we have human animal health, we have other sectors such as academia, customs, ports of entry, everybody who should be in the response to address certain public events. When you’re talking about a public health events actually you’re looking at things that does affect your economy, it does affect even when you talk about bio-tourism everything would be tied in; you’re talking about animal health, how it affects your economy so definitely it’s addressing those needs and see how we can be coordinated to act and respond.”
Stakeholders are meeting again tomorrow at the Caribbean Motors conference room to further discuss their findings.