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Computerizing public health surveillance at Belize’s land borders

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Posted: Monday, March 29, 2021. 8:54 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Still closed, Belize’s land borders must be ready for the strain of hundreds upon thousands seeking entry when they do re-open.

To prepare, Belize has turned to the Government of Canada and the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), which donated computer equipment with supplies to strengthen national public surveillance capacity at the Western and Northern land borders of Belize.

The donated equipment includes 4 Dell Latitude 5400 notebooks; 2 HP LaserJet Pro printers; 2 HP Black LaserJet toner cartridges; 4 Dell Essential backups; 4 Dell OptiPlex desktops; 8 Logitech wireless mouses; and10 SaniTec hand sanitizer dispensers floor stands.

Belize’s Country representative Dr. Noreen Jack noted that this was part of an overall grant from Ottawa to PAHO/WHO in supporting fellow Americas countries to respond to COVID-19, including control of national borders.

Cross-border movement not only affects travelers but also affects communities of people living and working around these border areas. Without the proper equipment to implement health measures such as planning and surveillance and risk monitoring, the ability to efficiently prevent, detect, and respond to health risks and emergencies at land borders may be difficult to achieve.

Ottawa’s representative to Belize, High Commissioner Rita Rudaitis-Renaud pledged continued support for Belize and Caribbean nations, while CEO of the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Dr. Deysi Mendez reiterated the thanks of her Ministry and Government: “This timely donation strengthens our goal of safeguarding the health and wellbeing of the people and allows us to prepare for any future health threats as we strategically plan to reopen the land borders.”

Along with this donation, PAHO/WHO also handed over 70,000 surgical masks and 10,000 KN95 masks to the Ministry of Health and Wellness to support the National COVID-19 Vaccine Deployment.

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