MOHW receives support for numerous health initiatives and equipment
The Ministry of Health and Wellness has received additional support from the Government of the United States and the Pan-American Health Organisation. The support is for several health initiatives, cold chain equipment and the response to COVID-19. Valued at almost 1.3 million U.S. dollars, the Ministry received ice-lined refrigerators, four refrigerated trucks and vaccine supplies. Minister Kevin Bernard spoke at the ceremony.
Hon.Kevin Bernard, Minister of Health and Wellness: “The Ministry of Health’s vaccination coverage wouldn’t have been possible without the support of key partners including PAHO/WHO and the United States Government. Close coordination with partners like PAHO/WHO is important for us in identifying priority areas for technical cooperation. Examples of these are communication strategies, quality improvement of essential and equitable health services, strengthened surveillance and capacity building. With funding support from partners like the United States Government we at the Ministry of Health can successfully implement key strategies in many health areas. At the beginning of the roll out of the COVID-19 vaccines with this funding support from the US Government we were able to target key and vulnerable populations through various communication strategies including elevating our vaccination sites with the procurement of loud speakers, banners and posters, with the procurement of the cold chain equipment we managed to expand and strengthen the national capacity to transport, store and distribute COVID-19 vaccines and other vaccines while ensuring the integrity of the vaccine and increasing the use of digital temperature monitoring devices.”
This funding was implemented with support of the U.S. Government and the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO). PAHO Representative to Belize, Dr. Noreen Jack and U.S. Ambassador, Michelle Kwan both explained why programs and relationships like these are important.
Dr.Noreen Jack, PAHO/WHO Representative, Belize: “It was also related to the cold chain the COVID vaccine deployment, the strengthening of the cold chain and we just had a visit again of the facility with Dr.Karen Lewisbell and it was the capacity to transport, store and distribute but not only COVID vaccines and this is it it was integrated, it was all vaccines that are part of the expanded program on immunization. So a number of things were procured. 20 ice lined refrigerators, 4 refrigerated trucks and they’re nicely displayed out there and it took us a while but we eventually got it through Guatemala, through the border it was the easiest way to get them into Belize. 200 vaccine carriers, 500 temperature monitoring devices, 35 remote temperature monitoring devices with software licenses. So all of that in addition to also engaging in employment forty data entry encoders that were hired to keep 200,000 vaccination records on the Belize Health Information up to date. So this is significant. To give some quality of data in terms of understanding the vaccination rate and so on in Belize.”
Michelle Kwan, U.S. Ambassador to Belize: “Secretary Blinken recently announced his priorities of 2023 and he pledged to strengthen and mobilize tools and partnerships to deliver solutions for the shared global challenges. But the shared challenges of energy, climate, migration and economic security all of us in this room are playing an important role in helping to achieve these important goals and also creating a better future for all of humanity. The United States is proud to partner with PAHO and WHO to deliver solutions to shared challenges of health in Belize. Now split between PAHO and the WHO these donations from the citizens of the United States to the Ministry of Health and Wellness are valued over million US dollars. They touched on issues such as preventing cervical cancer, protecting health workers from infection, supporting diabetes management and of course fighting COVID-19.”
Belize will also be assisted with the restoration of health services and key communication strategies.