World Health Day was celebrated in Belize City with the launching of a park and health fair coordinated by the Belize City Council in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) on Wednesday April 7, 2010.
In keeping with the theme for World Health Day, “Urban Health Matters”, and the 1000 Cities, 1000 Lives initiative, the Belize City Council, among other initiatives, has decided on a campaign to renovate parks around the city in order to encourage citizens to utilize them for physical activity and other health promoting activities.
The Fred Westby Park on Albert Street West was the first park renovated under this campaign and was officially launched on World Health Day. In the official ceremonies, the Mayor of Belize City, Zenaida Moya –Flowers spoke of her concern regarding the high prevalence of diabetes; hypertension and HIV/AIDS affecting the people of Belize City and stated that the City Council is happy to join forces with the Ministry of Health and PAHO to educate the public.
Dr. Jorge Polanco, Deputy Director of Health Services discussed the importance of attention to risk factors and observing healthier lifestyles. He said that the Ministry of Health takes advantage of forums like these to provide as much information as it can to the general public to help them make healthier lifestyle choices.
Ms. Marilyn Entwistle, Acting PAHO/WHO Representative congratulated the Belize City Council and the Ministry of Health on taking measures to improve the health of those living in the city. Ms. Leila Peyrifitte, Councilor responsible for parks and playground, was on hand to thank the gathering and cut the ribbon to the park.
Following the official opening ceremonies a health fair was held. Various NGOs such as the Belize Family Life Association, the Belize Cancer Society, the Belize Kidney Foundation, the Belize Diabetes Association and the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital joined forces with the Ministry of Health, PAHO/WHO Belize and the Belize City Council to provide information to the public. Free blood pressure and blood sugar tests were provided as well as measuring of the Body Mass Index and screening for HIV.
The Pan American Health Organization, which is the Regional Office in the Americas of the World Health Organization, was founded in 1902, and works with all the countries of the Americas to improve the health and quality of life of their peoples. The PAHO/WHO Country Office in Belize was established in the 1950s.
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