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Ministry of Health receives thermocycler from US Government

Today the US Government handed over laboratory equipment valued at seventy-five thousand US dollars to the Ministry of Health. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Central America Regional office in Guatemala is providing a thermocycler for polymerase chain reaction testing to the Belize National Laboratory.  According to the Chief Executive Officer for the Ministry of Health, Dr. Ramon Figueroa, this technology will be used for rapid and accurate detection of viruses and bacteria that cause diseases like Zika and influenza. 


“Progress is always a long, tedious process, sometimes frustrating but sometimes very rewarding and I think this is one of those days when I can say this is quite a rewarding experience. It’s a milestone for the Ministry of Health. We have a lot of plans on where we want to be with the Central Medical Lab as one of our referral centers here in the country and the donation of this thermo cycler will actually upgrade our ability to diagnose and to respond in particular I think for the media for you to realize how important this equipment is, when we had the scare, when we talk about Influenza, when we had the scare of H1N1; I think more people will relate to the H1N1 and the swine flu and the H5N1 which was the bird flu and the worldwide scare. Well this thermo cycler will now allow us to determine the type of influenza virus that is in the country. Every year we do have cases of flu and we are always concerned about the existence of any particular type of viral flu or influenza. This will allow us now to better diagnose quickly and to prepare and respond immediately and avoid any medical disaster in the country.”

Chargé d’affaires for the US Embassy in Belize Adrienne Galanek says the Health sector developments are a critical piece of advancing all three U.S. Government major partnership priorities in Belize and across all of Central America which are citizen security, economic development, and good governance.