By Benjamin Flowers: Following a recent Cabinet shuffle which saw the position of Minister of Health and Wellness change hands from Michel Chebat to Kevin Bernard, the Pan American Health Organization wrote a letter to Chebat, thanking him for his work during his time as Minister.
PAHO Director Dr. Carissa F. Etienne, wrote to Chebat on January 14, thanking him for the level of collaboration that Belize and the organization shared during his tenure.
“Your leadership in addressing the health challenges in Belize, as well as your active participation in the Governing Bodies of PAHO and WHO were greatly appreciated. We applaud your commitment to strengthening the health systems especially during this period of the COVID-19 pandemic ensuring increased access to COVID-19 testing through decentralization into all districts and to COVID-19 vaccination for all people of Belize enabling greater than 60 percent vaccination coverage,” Dr. Etienne said.
She noted that Chebat’s leadership allowed for the continuation of essential health services providing maternal and child health and chronic disease care including mental health, and commended his interest and willingness to promote initiatives such as One Health and Climate Change adaptation in Health. She also highlighted other achievements under Chebat’s tenure such as further upgrading of the Belize Health Information System, and the transitioning of polyclinics into Smart Health Facility standards.
Chebat’s successor has been the center of public praise this week after he announced his intention to bring back Dr. Marvin Manzanero into a yet to be determined, senior position within the ministry. Under Chebat’s tenure, Manzanero had previously been removed from his post as Director of Health Services while recovering from COVID-19, before there were legislative amendments that did away with the post entirely.