18 February 2011 Belize City – The Ministry of Health (MOH) in collaboration with the University of the West Indies (UWI) Open Campus, The Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization in Belize (PAHO/WHO) and the Mental Health Association today launched the Training of Community Nurses in Mental Health. The launching was held at the UWI Open Campus Belize City with over 170 participating nurses representing the four health regions.
The objective of the training is to provide participants with knowledge of mental health promotion, prevention of disorders, alcohol and substance abuse, and community-based care for persons with mental disorders.
In his keynote address, Dr. Michael Pitts, Director of Health Services, emphasized that “Nursing is more than just a job. It is a commitment to people and health care”. He endorsed the training program as instrumental for the integration of mental health into primary health care in Belize.
Mr. Jose Perez, on behalf of Dr. Gustavo Vargas, Acting PAHO/WHO Belize Representative, reiterated PAHO’s commitment to partnerships and technical cooperation, and highlighted the significance of the program for community nursing and for mental health patients in rural areas.
The training is financially supported by The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, UK, in collaboration with PAHO/WHO. It is a 13 week training course starting February 25 to May 27 2011 and is being coordinated by the Ministry of Health, the Mental Health Association and the UWI Open Campus as the trainer institution.
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.