In a country where resources are limited, responding to the global health crisis of COVID-19 has meant reprioritizing for risk mitigation and strengthening the health sector for improved service delivery, a challenge that is understood by the European Union.
“The EU is committed to the principle of solidarity and one of the many lessons we have learnt from the COVID-19 experience is that our efforts to fight the disease are more effective when we work together and support one another,” said EU Ambassador Malgorzata Wasilewska.
500,000 Euros of the Health Sector Support Programme Belize Project will be reallocated to:
- Enhancing national laboratory network diagnostic capacity including purchasing of testing kits, equipment and supplies, and providing training on their use.
- Enhancing infection prevention and control with a focus on medical waste management for COVID-19 including purchasing of two autoclaves for Southern Regional Hospital and Corozal Polyclinic.
- Improving integrated healthcare at the community level through outreach services by providing health monitoring equipment, personal protective equipment (PPEs) and other supplies, and strengthening human resource capacity in self-care and management, health promotion, and community engagement.
The program, co-financed by the European Union with 6.8 million Euro, was originally conceived to strengthen the health sector by improving health systems towards achieving universal health care for all while developing climate-friendly, energy-efficient, and disaster-resilient health facilities. Activities such as preparation for a health sector reform and training on the country’s response to emergency and disasters were already in progress since 2019 when the declaration of COVID-19 as a pandemic in March 2020 forced the country to refocus this portion of the EU resources towards preparation and response to COVID-19.
“PAHO has appealed to many donors and partners regionally and globally for funding to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said PAHO/WHO Representative Dr. Noreen Jack. “With the reorientation of some of the EU funds from this project, support is provided to the Ministry of Health in Belize to respond to the COVID-19 emergency. All other activities of the program will continue such as strengthening the health system to provide essential health services as the prevention, control and treatment of non-communicable diseases as hypertension and diabetes and the upgrading of six health facilities throughout the country.”