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Belize is now in its 5th COVID-19 wave, Director of Health and Wellness Dr. Melissa Diaz-Musa tells 75th World Health Assembly

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Posted: Tuesday, May 24, 2022. 6:50 pm CST.

Photo Credit: MOHW

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: Director of Health and Wellness Dr. Melissa Diaz-Musa today told the 75th World Health Assembly that Belize is now in its 5th COVID-19 wave detailing the challenges the country has faced, and the progress made in battling the pandemic.

Belize the lines itself with the statement made by Oracle league from Costa Rica this morning as we joined the 44th States who are called sponsors of the solidarity called action of the sit up. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged health systems all over the world, including Belize,” said Dr Diaz-Musa.

“As cases surged we were forced to suspend primary care facilities and redistribute our resources. Additionally, there was interrupted continuity of care, especially for persons with non-communicable diseases like hypertension, diabetes, and HIV.”

“Belize recorded its 1st case of COVID-19 in March 2020 and to date, we have seen four large waves of this relentless virus. We are now entering our fifth wave.”

Dr Diaz Musa said 677 persons have died in Belize since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic during which time 58,419 cases have been recorded. She also said that currently Belize has vaccinated 49.42% of its total population and that 69% of the targeted population 12-and-over has been fully vaccinated.

“Belize remains committed to the public health emergency response,” she said, mentioning that from early on in the pandemic Belize started testing and acquired enough supplies including vaccines through CIVAX and donations to counter the disease.

“The Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW) launched a robust educational campaign regarding COVID-19 transmissibility and the importance of vaccine update,” she said.

“Early in our response, government funding was mobilized to cross-train human resource in field epidemiology and surveillance, health regulations at borders, and on testing strategies.”

She acknowledged PAHO BELIZE country office, which through funding from the European Union’s health sector, has supported the Ministry of Health and Wellness in the following four actions: transformation of the health system based on primary health care, strengthening public health capacities through essential public health functions, training to build capacity on integrated health service delivery networks, and studies on public health financing.

Despite all that has been achieved, Dr Dias Musa said the work is not done yet.

“There is still much more to be done to strengthen response, working closer with member states especially in the region of the Americas, and improving timely access to vaccines and key medication.

Dr Diaz-Musa closed her presentation at the 75th World Health Assembly saying that Belize welcomes the continued assistance from PAHO/WHO and other partners in technical areas, capacity building, as well as in areas of resources to adequately respond to public health emergencies. 

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