Sunday, July 21, 2024

UNICEF Belize and the Republic of Korea invest in strengthening Primary Health Care in Belize


Press Release – Belmopan, Belize – March 15, 2024- UNICEF (United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund) Belize handed over essential, state-of-the-art equipment to the Ministry of Health & Wellness in a short ceremony held at the National Vaccine Building in Belmopan.
Through a global partnership with the Republic of Korea, twenty-two UNICEF country offices received grant funding to maintain and strengthen essential health services through Access to COVID-19 Tool Accelerator (ACT-A) investments and UNICEF’s Strategic Plan. UNICEF Belize was awarded USD 650,000 of this grant, which was allocated to the health pillar to assist national health programmes, support COVID-19 recovery, restore essential health services, and strengthen primary health care, with focus on community health systems and infrastructure.
Today’s donation reinforces the collaboration with the Ministry of Health & Wellness to strengthen the implementation of primary health care and quality improvement of maternal and child health services in rural communities. To support increased access to the primary health care service through mobile outreaches and home visits for children and women, three 6-seater 2024 Kawasaki Mules (All Terrain Vehicles), fitted with a cargo bed and a 2000 pounds towing capacity, were provided for use in the Sarteneja Health Center in the Corozal district and Pueblo Viejo and Santa Teresa Health Centers in the Toledo district.
In addition, to complement the recently launched Belize Newborn Action Plan 2024-2030, the first set of newborn equipment, which include three infant radiant warmers and three phototherapy machines, were also handed over today and will be used at the Southern, Western and Northern Regional hospitals in the Stann Creek, Cayo and Orange Walk districts respectively. Additionally, a Perkins standby 30 kW diesel engine generator has been installed at the Central Medical Laboratory in Belize City to ensure uninterrupted access to power and strengthening of laboratory services.
Ensuring Universal Health access is essential to a healthy, prosperous population. On receiving the donation, Minister Kevin Bernard expressed appreciation for the support.
“The donation of three mules will be utilized in the hardest-to-reach and most rural areas of Belize. This will allow for health care workers to provide essential services to a population who would otherwise have difficultly to access a health facility. We’re also committed to caring for our newborn by ensuring that equipment and supplies are readily available at all our facilities. The donation of radiant warmers and incubators helps us to close the gaps to care. Today’s donation supports the Ministry to continue to work towards the goal of achieving universal health coverage by breaking barriers to care ensuring all persons can access a high standard of care at all our facilities. We extend heartfelt appreciation to our partners in health.”
Olusola Oladeji, Health and Nutrition Specialist with UNICEF Belize, presented the equipment to Hon. Kevin Bernard, Minister of Health & Wellness and shared some remarks on behalf of UNICEF Representative to Belize, Alison Parker. He spoke on the significance of the donation and continued commitment of UNICEF Belize.
“Every child in Belize has the right to survive and thrive. It is UNICEF’s mandate to assist with creating the enabling environment that translates this right to a reality, especially in the most vulnerable communities. UNICEF will continue to leverage regional and global partnerships to support Belize’s health sector in addressing national health priorities and interventions. On behalf of the children in these communities we also extend great appreciation to the Republic of Korea for its support of UNICEF’s work in maintaining and strengthening essential health services.”
UNICEF supports primary health care, especially at the community level, to help achieve universal health coverage. UNICEF also works to end preventable maternal, newborn and child deaths and stillbirths by scaling up essential maternal and newborn care. Through this donation, children and their families will have improved access to primary healthcare services, including newborn care. In partnership with the Ministry of Health and Wellness and the Republic of Korea, UNICEF reaffirms its commitment to ensuring all children are healthy and have access to the highest standards of health care.

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