|World Health Day 2009|
Belize City, April 7, 2009 - Belize today joined the rest of the world in observing “World Health Day”.
The theme chosen for the day is “Safe Hospitals Save Lives”, which represents a call to make hospitals (health facilities) as safe as possible in anticipation of adverse phenomena, natural or man-made which could cause disastrous consequences, especially if no prior preparations had been made.
In observation of the day, a salient activity included a symposium held at the Radisson Fort George Hotel during which several presenters spoke about the state of preparedness or lack thereof that our medical facilities presently experience.
In his opening remarks, Dr. Guillermo Troya, Acting PAHO/WHO Representative in Belize, quoted from this year’s World Health Day message by PAHO’s Director, Dr. Mita Roses Periago, who said: “When disaster strikes, our immediate concern is to save lives, help the injured, and restore the well-being of affected communities. We cannot accomplish this without one essential lifeline: our hospitals. Hospitals should never be allowed to become disaster victims themselves…”
For his part, Director of Health Services, Dr. Michael Pitts, pointed out, “in a few months Belize will be entering the hurricane season which lasts for at least half the year. During this time as a country, and certainly at the Ministry of Health, we are in a state of heightened alert anticipating major displacements and preparing to mitigate the effects. A central part of our effort is always to ensure that the health facilities are operational to respond to such eventualities”.
It will be recalled that Belize, along with more than 160 other countries around the world, at the Japan 2005 World Conference on Disaster Reduction, adopted “Hospitals Safe from Disasters”. This is a national risk reduction policy, which would ensure that all new hospitals are built to a level of safety which will allow them to function in disaster situations.
Participants at today’s symposium included representatives from the National Fire Service, the Department of the Environment, the Association of Professional Engineers, the Climate Change Center and security forces, among others.
Source: Ministry of Health
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