The Ministry of Health, through the initiative of the ‘Mesoamerican Health 2015 Belize” Project, donated medical equipment valuing approximately BZ $311,000, at a ceremony held at the grounds of Western Health Regional in Belmopan. The donation is part of a $3 million dollar project, aimed at primarily improving the neonatal care capacity and expand coverage of reproductive health services in hospitals of both regions. Plus News was on hand for the handing over and spoke with Minister of Health, Hon. Pablo Marin.
“From the $3M, we got a grant right now with this equipment. It is $311,000 worth of equipment and you can see around, these beds and different kind of equipment to be able to improve the quality; not only to use at the hospital, but also to teach women who are pregnant what they are supposed to do and how to go about”.
Hon. Pablo Marin: “Well, you know, any equipment helps us a lot or tremendously. We have an ultrasound machine that will help us to monitor the pregnancies until the day of birth. We have the tables that they will be using. So, whatever new material, any equipment, is a great benefit and will enhance the Ministry of Health”.
This is the first chapter of a three phase venture via the Mesoamerican Project and in accordance with the Millennium Development Goals.
“Health Centers and the hospitals are being equipped, both with manuals and the equipment. Today was one of the activities in which we officially hand over to the regions. We focus more on prevention, but in addition to the prevention part of it, we also need to ensure that our hospitals are equipped to take care of the people that come in”.
Reporter: “Why maternal mortality?”
“Maternal mortality is one of the (MDG) Millennium Goals. So, the focus has always been on maternal and child care”.
The equipment includes incubators, operating theatre tables, resuscitators and basinets among others. Accepting the donation for the North Health Region was Guadalupe Longsworth, while Pearl Ellis was the recipient on behalf of the Western Health Region.
Ellis says all seven health centers within the Western Region will benefit from the donation and it will be employed in their respective maternity ward and operating theatre. She says it is a welcomed and much needed contribution.
“Certainly, the hospital will benefit from these equipment because these are to support and to enhance what we provide here, specifically as the services that include the maternal and child health services. Certainly, there is an educational component of it because it will also have an impact on the primary health care network that we have. We have community health workers who are our front line people. So, we are in the process of completing training to the community health workers to upgrade their skills, so that they can function in a much improved way”.
In 2013, Belize once again achieved a maternal mortality rate of zero percent. Minister Marin says his Ministry intends to uphold that rate and decrease that of the infant and child mortality.
Hon. Pablo Marin: “I think this is the only country in the region and in the world that we have managed to have zero mortality. It is not by luck; we had already done this in 2011. It is a team work done by nurses, doctors and health care providers for us to be able to reach at this point. Now, with all this equipment that we have received from the Mesoamerica Project, it will only enhance our ministry”.
The Mesoamerican Health 2015 Belize Project is a five year health initiative geared at enhancing healthcare services in maternal and infant, child and reproductive health in vulnerable communities.