Belize City, Belize, November 1, 2021 (PAHO/WHO) – As the country tries to balance preparedness response actions including continuity of essential services while simultaneously managing case surges within the current economic reality, Belize must continue to strengthen its COVID-19 response. For that reason, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Immigration (MoFATI) and the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MoHW) submitted a proposal to the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations on 23 June 2020.
“Once again, this affirms the great and solid relationship shared between India and Belize and with that brotherhood spirit we are honored to be a part of it this donation,” commented Mr. Arun Hotchandani, Honorary Consul of India.
Through the India-UN Development Partnership Fund, a dedicated facility within the United Nations Fund for South-South Cooperation established in 2017, the Government of the Republic of India approved this US$1 million fund for Belize.
“The Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) is the implementing agency for the India-UN Development Partnership Fund,” said Dr. Noreen Jack, PAHO/WHO Representative in Belize. “The fund specifically aims to strengthen clinical management of COVID-19 patients, and, most importantly, to fund actions that will reduce the risk of the transmission of COVID-19 among health workers in Belize.”
Also, in collaboration with the United Nations Office of South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC), the project is centered around ‘Strengthening Clinical Management of COVID-19 Patients and Reducing of Risk of COVID-19 Transmission among Health Workers in Belize’ targeting three main objectives:
- To strengthen the response capacity of the health system to COVID-19 through the provision of key medical equipment;
- To improve accessibility to local healthcare services in support of COVID-19 recovery through the procurement of protective and medical equipment including a medical waste incinerator for a new health facility in Caye Caulker Village Belize;
- To increase awareness on the prevention, response, and recovery from COVID-19 among vulnerable urban and rural populations in Belize.
“We in the United Nations stand in solidarity and remain committed to supporting the people and Government of Belize to address the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said UN Resident Coordinator to Belize, Birgit Gerstenberg. “We reaffirm our pledge to continue accompanying all necessary actions to reduce the health and socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to allow for Belize’s recovery that is inclusive, equitable, green, and digital for all.”
During this morning’s visibility event to launch the multi-partner fund, twenty (20) patient monitors were also donated to the MoWH as part of the first set of medical equipment being procured through this fund.
Dr. Deysi Mendez, Chief Executive Officer of the MoHW, commented, “While health systems all over the world are overwhelmed and struggling, Belize is no different as we are faced with another wave which may seem to have no end in sight. The challenges range from having adequate human resources, to having the right medical and equipment and supplies to assist us to with proper diagnosis, management and treatment of COVID-19 patients. Today, we thank, the Government of the Republic of India, PAHO/WHO, and the UNOSSC for this grant and donation of medical equipment.”
As Belize copes with delays the pandemic has created in the supply chain, collaborations such as the India-UN Development Partnership Fund, continues with the procurement of incubators, patient and delivery beds, EKG machine, among others.
Complementing these actions was the development of a risk communication and community engagement strategy implementation of which has resulted in public service announcements in English, Spanish, Garifuna and Mopan Maya being prepared.
“The Risk Communication meets the unprecedented need to increase community engagement to not only stop the spread of the virus, but also to build lasting trust and social cohesion in the country,” stated H.E. Mrs. Amalia Mai, Chief Executive Officer, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Immigration.