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Center for Disease Control supports laboratory surveillance program in Belize

Posted: Wednesday, July 8, 2020. 11:23 am CST.

By Aaron Humes: Helping countries respond to public health threats quickly and effectively is critical to preventing the spread of disease regionally and around the world.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, in 2018, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began partnerships with Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Baylor College of Medicine, Washington State University, and Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, to strengthen epidemiological surveillance for antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in the Dominican Republic, Belize and Guatemala.

Kristy Murray, professor and vice-chair for research at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital explained: “We have a lot of different areas of expertise of people who are involved in this study, (Belize’s) Ministry of Health, our institution Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital and then also CDC. And just having that sharing of information has been really helpful. …By having this data of knowing exactly what we’re dealing with and understanding what pathogens are there, they can go in and protect people.”

Emily Zielinski Gutierrez, DrPH, Director, CDC Central America Region, stated: “We work very closely with the grant recipient and the Ministry of Health because we wouldn’t be doing this if it weren’t focused on action. Surveillance data are not surveillance if they’re not used.”

And Adrinna Maliga, MPH, Research Coordinator III, Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital reported: “The details are important in this project because ultimately we can know what diseases are circulating in the population as well as knowing how to prevent and stop them from spreading in the first place.

The Central Medical Laboratory has been strengthened by multiple donations from many allies and as a result, has been keeping up a regular pace of testing, limiting the impact of COVID-19 and other diseases.


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