PAHO, Belize sign new universal health strategy

PAHO Director Dr. Carissa F. Etienne and Belize Health Minister Pablo Marín sign new cooperation agreement.

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) says it has signed a new cooperation strategy with Belize’s Ministry of Health whose priorities are to help the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member country advance toward universal health, and to improve retention and distribution of health personnel throughout the country.

“The new strategy reflects our commitment to continue working with Belize so that all people have access to care, when they need it, with quality and without fear of falling into poverty,” said PAHO Director Carissa F. Etienne, who also serves as regional director for the Americas of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Minister of Health Pablo Marín said Belize continues to advance “on the road to universal health coverage” and recognized the importance of investing in primary health care and community-based services, while also improving efficiency.

PAHO said on Wednesday that the Belize cooperation strategy 2017-2021 was developed in consultation with various national stakeholders.

The strategy lays out the medium-term vision that guides PAHO/WHO’s work with Belize in support of the National Health Sector Plan 2014-2024, PAHO said.

It said the strategy’s priorities are aligned with PAHO’s Strategic Plan 2014-2019 and with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

PAHO said the strategy encourages greater collaboration between the health and other sectors, and the promotion of health and well-being throughout people’s lives.

“It seeks to reduce noncommunicable diseases and their risk factors, as well as infectious diseases, mental health problems, violence and injuries,” PAHO said.

The strategy also includes technical cooperation on preparedness for and response to health emergencies, PAHO said.

It said the new strategy was signed following a “dialogue on health financing” in which Etienne delivered the keynote address.

Also participating in the dialogue and the signing ceremony were Marin and Belize’s Health Ministry’s Chief Executive Officer, Ramon Figueroa, PAHO said.

“Belize is on the right track to achieve universal access and universal health coverage,” said Etienne in her closing remarks.

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