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Ministry of Health and Wellness launches HEARTS in the Americas Initiative

Posted: Friday, October 20, 2023. 1:22 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: A continental-wide effort to improve cardiovascular health and prevent heart disease is coming to Belize.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness (MoHW), in partnership with the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) and the European Union (EU), is pleased to announce the official launch of HEARTS in the Americas initiative in Belize. Its primary goal is to reduce the burden of cardiovascular diseases and their risk factors by implementing proven, cost-effective interventions.

Cardiovascular diseases, such as heart disease and stroke, pose significant health challenges in Belize and globally. These conditions not only affect the quality of life but also place a heavy burden on healthcare systems. The launch of HEARTS in the Americas initiative signifies Belize’s commitment to addressing this issue.

The health system will be asked to focus on managing hypertension (high blood pressure), one of the major risk factors for heart disease and stroke; reducing the use of tobacco and exposure to secondhand smoke; reducing salt intake in diets to lower hypertension risk and cardiovascular issues; and promoting healthier lifestyles, including regular physical activity and balanced nutrition.

Funding support for the project is provided by the EU and the Universal Health Coverage Partnership. The Ministry will work diligently with the PAHO/WHO, other partners in health and communities to ensure the success of this initiative in Belize. Furthermore, the launch of the HEARTS in Americas initiative is a major step in the right direction and a testament of the ministry’s commitment to building a healthier nation.

WHO launched the Global HEARTS Initiative and its HEARTS Technical Package in 2016. The initiative is being implemented and expanded across 33 countries in the Americas with Belize formally launching today. It is expected that this will be the institutionalized model of care for cardiovascular disease risk management, including hypertension, diabetes, and dyslipidemia, in primary health care in the Americas by 2025.

 

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