The Ministry of Health has received a donation of two Toyota Hilux vehicles as well as 25 bicycles from the UNDP-Global Fund (GF). The handing over ceremonies took place today at the UNDP headquarters in Belmopan. The country of Belize has been granted US$3.4 million for HIV/AIDS and TB prevention and mitigation by the Global Fund for 2016-18. Mrs. Karen Bernard is the UNDP Representative and she says that this is the second grant of this nature for Belize but the first time that Tuberculosis has been factored into the funding.
Mrs. Karen Bernard,DRR for UNDP
“The primary objective for this grant is to move towards 90% of all people living with HIV having the diagnosis. Ninety percent receiving the anti retroviral treatment and 90% of patients with a suppression of the virus. These are the targets within the UN Aides International Network for 2020. This purchase is also focusing on that within Belize and that’s a big challenge. We do hope that these materials will facilitate that work and make it possible. This particular project has a focus on strengthening the Health Care system and also strengthening human rights. Our intention is that the vulnerable population who is subjected to discrimination and all kinds of difficulties and hardships that their human rights as people will be recognized is part of the approach that is being taken in this project. We hope that they will be able to get the kind of treatment and support that they need to carry on with dignified lives. That’s the overall objective that the Government of Belize shares with the UNDP and the UN system. We are pleased to be able to make a contribution to that important objective.”
Under this grant, UNDP is handing over to the Ministry essential health equipment, such as the Gene Xpert machinery; lab equipment and other health products and consumables. The remaining funds will be used to strengthen national health systems through infrastructural development and multi-level capacity building for healthcare workers.
Mrs. Karen Bernard,DRR for UNDP
“The project that we are all working on as partners addresses all these issues together. What we see here today is the hard work component, vehicles and bicycles which enable the outreach, access and mobility. Computers, Laboratory Equipment, we see all of this but there is also a softer more tangible side to this work, which we all are very committed to and includes the Human Development side of things. We need to remember that the HIV positive population in Belize has the same rates as everybody else has but it may be more challenging for them to access those rights, so that is part of our project as well.”
Minister of State in the Ministry of Health, Hon. Angel Campos, was on hand to receive the donations from the UNDP. In his address, he thanked the donor agencies for the much needed equipment and then proceeded to share how the Ministry intended to utilize the donation.
Hon. Angel Campos, Minister of State in Ministry of Health
“With these particular instruments and needed equipment the Ministry of Health seeks to improve the care and management of Tuberculosis in Belize. TheGene Expert for example, provides high quality screening in all populations including children. It also will help us see pulmonary forms of Tuberculosis in a period of 2-4 hours. The main objective in the Tuberculosis program is to utilize these items in the following ways: One, to improve the diagnosis of Tuberculosis nationally and to create a national profile for this disease. Two, improve treatment success , address the Tuberculosis HIV infections and release the occurrence of drug resistant Tuberculosis in Belize. Three, to improve detection and management of all forms of Tuberculosis in Belize. Four, to reduce the burden of HIV patients with presumptive diagnosis of Tuberculosis. Five, initiate early and antiretroviral treatment for people living with HIV. Six, to develop a public private ship which involves the TB patients and the communities. Seven, to include communities and community volunteers to improve quality. And the last one we will improve supervision and monitory systems for Tuberculosis control and promote operational research.”
The equipment will be distributed for use in the three districts with the heaviest burden of HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis in Belize; those areas are Belize City, Cayo and Stann Creek District.