But the Ministry is trying to move on from its internal crises and get back to its proper mission: promoting and ensuring the health and wellness of all Belizeans. To that end, it today launched a general strategic plan covering the next ten years, to 2024, and a concurrent plan to address non-communicable diseases or NCDs.
The Director of the Policy and Planning Unit of the Ministry, Dr. Ramon Figueroa, told us today that this plan expands the Ministry’s view on health and wellness from a official strategy to a complete look at the health needs of the entire population.
“The plan is innovative in the sense that it is incorporating the World Health Organization’s framework for health system development. So, we are looking at the strengthening and development and engineering of the health system as opposed to looking only at our vertical programs. So, the other thing is that we are looking at the whole health sector as opposed to only the Ministry of Health. The reason for that is that many of the problems that we have in health are the product of what we call social determinants which include e.g poor education, lack of employment, poverty, basic sanitation. In those things the Ministry of Health has no influence or input. So, one of the things that we are trying to do is to strengthen or establish functional and efficient links with other sectors that can affect those determinants of health”.
Dr. Figueroa gives examples of how the plan will work.
Dr. Ramon Figueroa: “For example, we are looking at the chronic non-communicable diseases, which is one of our priority areas in terms of service delivery. We are looking on the aspect of promotion, detection, early screening, working with other partners, e.g. the National Cancer Society, looking at education in schools, looking at evenization as another part. So, the interventions are broad based across the board, but we are also looking e.g. at the treatment aspect of it. So, it is along the whole spectrum of care; it is at the horizontal basis, looking at establishing links and working with other entities and other sectors. So, the impact should be much better, should be sustainable and we should be more efficient”.
Despite being launched only today, the plans are already being implemented, at least in part. The Ministry will conduct periodical reviews to ensure it meets its targets.