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MOHW Receives Two Gene Expert Machines from the UNDP

Belize received two gene expert sequencing machines from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). The official handing over took place this morning at the Ministry of Health in Belmopan. Speaking at the ceremony was Minister of Health, Kevin Bernard.

Kevin Bernard, Minister of Health and Wellness:It is of great significance to mention that enhanced surveillance is critical along with early testing and diagnosis as crucial elements of the national response. These Gene Xpert machines being delivered through the partnership of the Ministry of Health and Wellness, the National AIDS Commission, and UNDP falls under the support of global fund country support mechanism in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. This particular model with a four cartridge capacity can be used to diagnose critical infectious diseases such as SARS CoV 2, micro bacterium, tuberculosis including TB resistant strains. It can also be used to test for other viral and bacterial infections. This biomedical intervention will be used to monitor the treatment response in those affected and living with HIV/ AIDS. By that I’m referring to their viral load and the ultimate effect as a result of adhering to the anti retroviral medication provided by the government of Belize at no cost to all those affected. This real time PCR platform has the potential of providing testing results within a much shorter time than conventional testing. Gene Xxpert capacity will help with early diagnosis of COVID-19 patients in the regions and districts and serve to further decentralized testing services in our jewel. The people and Government of Belize continue to enjoy this partnership with UNDP as it continues to support the growth of Belize in various aspects and today’s activity is just another declaration of its commitment to the growth of our resilient country towards a healthy Belize.

UNDP’s Officer in Charge, Diane Wade was on hand at the ceremony. Wade expressed the UNDP’s commitment in assisting Belize to be better equipped amid the continuous Covid-19 pandemic.

The machines are valued at an estimated quarter million Belize dollars.