12 Caribbean Countries Participating in a Workshop Showcasing Belizean Innovation: The Belize National Health Information System, Belize City, 17-19 August 2009
12 August 2009 | BELIZE CITY/BELIZE –
The workshop “Belize Health Information System: Lessons Learned to Strengthen National Health Information Systems in Barbados, Eastern Caribbean Countries, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago” will be held in Belize 17-19 August 2009. The workshop is being organized by the Belize and Eastern Caribbean Countries offices of the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) in collaboration with the Ministry of Health of Belize, the Health Metrics Network, and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States. Its purpose is to share experiences and lessons learned from the design and implementation of the Belize Health Information System (BHIS) in order to strengthen partnerships and networking among participant countries.
According to the Minister of Health of Belize, the Hon. Pablo Marin, “The Government of Belize is proud to share our experience in realizing a truly national health information system. It is a remarkable achievement, but most importantly it is a tool that enables us to improve the quality and effectiveness of health care for all Belizeans. We invite you to learn from our experiences. It is our sincere hope that BHIS, which showcases Belizean innovation, will help contribute to the fight we are all waging in delivering improved and effective health care.”
Dr. Beverley Barnett, the PAHO/WHO Representative in Belize believes that ‘health information is at the heart of the public health system. In promoting and protecting the health of the population, it is critical to know and analyze the health situation, especially of vulnerable groups. Without a reliable health information system that is user-friendly and which provides quality information that can be used in various ways, it is difficult to judge if the health system is doing the right things, and doing them right. The BHIS, a “bottom-up”, home-grown system, will go a long way in ensuring that health of the people of Belize continues to improve. The Pan American Health Organization is pleased to support this effort, and to facilitate sharing the Belize experience and the lessons learned with other countries.”
The BHIS, which was inaugurated on 16 September 2008, is a fully integrated, comprehensive health information system intended to improve individual health outcomes and public health performance, and optimize resource utilization. According to Dr. Peter Allen, Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Health, "The measure of success is the positive outcomes for those who encounter our system. There will always be challenges since no system or tool is ever perfect - the focus must always remain on the benefits to patients and our people."
The BHIS allows population-based, health services, and records-based data to be made available to authorized users anywhere in the country almost as soon as they are entered in the system. It comprises a set of mostly interdependent modules surrounding the central Electronic Health Record and Admissions-Discharge-Transfer functions.
The system was financed initially through a health sector reform loan from the Inter-American Development Bank and the Caribbean Development Bank. PAHO/WHO and Accesstec of New Brunswick, Canada, provided technical cooperation.
In 2006, a grant was received from the Health Metrics Network (HMN) that first brought the Belize system to HMN’s attention. In May 2008, Belize became the first country in the Americas to be granted priority technical support from HMN, as a “Wave One” country. With oversight from a multisectoral committee, the country has completed an assessment of its health information system (HIS) and is currently in the process of finalizing its HIS Strategic Plan, with continued HMN and PAHO/WHO technical cooperation. As part of the process, a 2-day stakeholder consultation was held in July 2009 to finalize Belize’s HIS strategic plan for the next five years.
For more information please contact:
Mr. Ian Smith
Ministry of Health
3rd Floor East Block Building
Belmopan City, Belize
Telephone: 822-2363 (work)
Telephone: 610-0449 (cell)
Ms. Marilyn Entwistle
Advisor Health Systems and Services
#4792 Coney Drive
Coney Drive Business Plaza, 3rd Floor
Belize City, Belize
Telephone: 224-4885, 224-5536
For more information visit the following websites:
Belize Ministry of Health website at: www.health.gov.bz
PAHO/WHO Belize website at: http://www.paho.org/blz/