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United Nations Refugee agency donates medical equipment for COVID-19 response in Southern Belize

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Posted: Friday, July 30, 2021. 4:24 pm CST.

By Benjamin Flowers: This week, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) also known as the UN Refugee Agency, donated medical and personal protective equipment (PPE) to the Independence Poly Clinic, San Juan Health Post, the Bella Vista Poly Clinic and Community Health Workers in the Independence sub-region.

The donation, handed over on Thursday, July 29, included 2,800 KN95 masks, 4,000 surgical masks, 2,450 disposable gowns, 500 face shields, 6,600 pairs of gloves, and equipment such as 3 vital signs monitors, 6 pulse oximeters, 7 and infrared thermometers. UNHCR hopes to enhance access to health services and reduce the risk among frontline health workers. The UNHCR noted that the donations form a part of the continued efforts to support the government in preventing the spread of COVID-19 in Belize.

“A global response is needed to combat COVID-19,” said UNHCR’s Associate Field Officer, Joseph Hendrikx, “These donations serve to promote the inclusion of everyone in medical care and treatment, especially the most vulnerable.”

The UNHCR noted that Independence and Bella Vista Poly Clinic and San Juan Health Post cater for the needs of over 25,000, including people forced to flee violence and persecution in other Central American countries and have sought protection in Belize.

The organization also noted that Belize is home to over 5,000 refugees and asylum seekers who have come to Belize seeking safe haven and protection, mostly from nearby El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Nicaragua. These healthcare facilities provide medical services to over 20% of refugees and asylum seekers living in Belize.

Dr. Rayford Rancharan, Medical Chief of Staff at Independence Poly Clinic, said that the donations will be used to assist some 22 communities that the clinic serves.

The UNHCR also assisted the Bella Vista Poly Clinic with a lap-top for health information campaigns and the building of a waiting area, with the assistance of partner, HUMANA People to People.

“This new waiting area comes as a great asset to our Poly Clinic because it serves as protection and prevention for our patients,” said Dr. Gino Orellana, Medical Officer-in-Charge at Bella Vista Poly Clinic, “I would like to extend my gratitude to UNHCR and HUMANA People to People for the work that they’ve done with health education and prevention across the community.”

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