4 December 2009, Radisson Fort George Hotel, Belize City - The Belize Country Office (CO) of the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) held a meeting to review the achievements of its Biennial Workplan (BWP) 2008-09 and present the planned BWP 2010-11 on 4 December 2009. Approximately 50 persons participated in the meeting, including regional and technical program managers in the Ministry of Health; representatives from the Ministry of Education, the University of Belize, the Kolbe Foundation, which manages the prison system, Non-Governmental Organizations working in health, other UN agencies, the media, and the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital; and personnel from the PAHO/WHO CO itself. The meeting was chaired by Ms. Sandra Jones, HIV/Gender Advisor in the CO.
After welcome remarks by Dr. D. Beverley Barnett, the PAHO/WHO Representative (PWR) in Belize, Ms. Lorraine Thompson, INCAP Advisor in the CO, presented the achievements of the 2008-09 PAHO/WHO technical program. Ms. Thompson highlighted the importance of collaboration with the MOH, national and international partners, and other PAHO and WHO entities in achieving the successes, and noted challenges and lessons learned over the period.
Among the challenges were limited human and financial resources; making operational social determinants of health- and rights-based approaches to national health development; and strengthening mechanisms for joint planning, monitoring, and evaluation of health programs among the stakeholders. The lessons learned included the importance of resource mobilization from both inside and outside PAHO/WHO, and ensuring that capacity building involved more than training of personnel, to include institutional and systems strengthening. Overall, participants agreed with the information presented.
Technical advisors in the CO presented the BWP 2010-11 projects for which they were responsible – Communicable and Non-Communicable Diseases (Ms. Sandra Jones); Family and Community Health (Ms. Lorraine Thompson); Environmental Protection and Sustainability (Mr. Jose Perez); Health Systems and Services (Ms. Marilyn Entwistle) – their expected results, and some of the products and services planned to achieve the results.
Traditional program areas, including immunization, HIV, non-communicable diseases, maternal and child health, vector-borne diseases, and disaster risk reduction and response would continue to be addressed, while increased emphasis would be placed on support for the implementation of the International Health Regulations (2005), the response to pandemic influenza and other communicable disease threats, determination and reduction of health inequities, and strengthening primary health care services. The PWR and Ms. Ruby Dominguez, Administrator, presented the Management and Coordination project, which contained the expected results for the managerial and administrative support to the technical cooperation program.
Participants issued reminders for greater attention to be paid to the health of older persons, disabilities, promotion of healthy lifestyles, the impact of climate change on health, and laboratory surveillance, as well as improving mechanisms for information sharing, including the dissemination of various protocols and guidelines to a wider range of stakeholders.
All participants deemed the meeting a success. The PWR thanked them for their active participation and feedback, and indicated PAHO/WHO’s commitment to strengthening and extending partnerships and collaboration in support of national health development in Belize.