Thursday, July 18, 2024

British High Commission, PAHO/WHO, and the Ministry of Health and Wellness hold ceremony to handover and celebrate the Palm View Center in Belmopan, Belize becoming a Smart Health Facility

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As part of the Smart Health Care Facilities in the Caribbean Project Phase II Project, supported by the United Kingdom Department for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (UK FCDO), the British High Commission and the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) officially handed over the Palm View Center in Belmopan to the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MoHW) and credited the facility as a ‘Smart Health Care’ Facility.

Palm View Center is one of five (5) health facilities in Belize selected to be retrofitted to become a safer and greener facility. A ‘smart’ facility is a facility that can deliver care effectively and efficiently during disasters, generate operational savings and reduce disaster losses.

“There are more than 67% of hospitals in the Caribbean and Latin America that are considered located in high-risk disaster areas,” said Dr. Noreen Jack, PAHO/WHO Representative in Belize. “As one of the countries in the region that are prone to natural hazards and disasters, it is crucial for the health facilities in Belize to be able to deliver care and protect its staff and patients during emergencies. This COVID-19 pandemic has shown us the importance of emergency and disaster preparedness, and through this partnership with FCDO, we can strengthen five of Belize’s health facilities throughout the country.”

Despite the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the retrofitting works for Palm View Center commenced last year October 2020 with the assistance of Guerra’s Construction Ltd, the contractor for the retrofitting works, and Gutierrez and Associates Architects who assisted in the Design and Inspection. To improve overall safety, functionality and sustainability, the scopes are work included interior works and repairs, bathroom improvements and extension to patient bathrooms, doors and windows replacements, repainting of exterior and interior surfaces, construction of a generator building with fuel dyke, construction of water tank structure, water harvesting improvements, electrical improvements, plumbing and drainage improvements, air conditioning services, as well as other site works such as installation of new pipes, fire extinguishers and smoke detectors among others.

“Living in this part of the world, we, and our neighbours, are hit by natural disasters every year and along with our vulnerability to climate change, and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of our health services has been highlighted like never before,” said Her Excellency Claire Evans OBE, British High Commissioner. “It has shown how the right functional support structures and layouts can really help, or if not right, can hinder the amazing work being delivered by so many wonderful health care professionals, and all those who work to support their efforts. The SMART health care facilities programme, supported by the UK and delivered in partnership with PAHO, with support from the Government of Belize is another example of the UK’s commitment to helping vulnerable communities to guard and protect their resources against future storms, disasters and the increased risk from Climate Change.”

The Smart Health Care Facilities in the Caribbean Project is a £43.8m project currently being implemented in seven (7) countries – Dominica, St. Lucia, Grenada, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Guyana, Jamaica, and Belize. The project aims to increase protection from disasters and climate change for several health facilities in the project countries where work on vulnerability reduction and climate resilience improvement in health facilities will be made. Along with the Palm View Center, the other selected health facilities in Belize include San Ignacio Community Hospital, Independence Polyclinic, Isabel Palma Polyclinic, and Cleopatra White Polyclinic.

The Minister of Health and Wellness, H0n. Michel Chebat, expressed his appreciation of this facility retrofitting because it is in line with this Government’s commitment as it continues to strengthen the commitment in health which includes physical, mental and social well-being.

Facility Administrator, Ms. Dianelie Cabral, also gave her thanks and appreciation to the pioneers of the project who made this huge success a reality, but also to the staff of the Palm View Center who relentlessly deliver their utmost labor and services to the health facility on a daily basis.

PAHO/WHO continues to stay committed to collaborating with partners like the UK FCDO to support the country and the Ministry of Health and Wellness in the strengthening of Belize’s overall health system especially its health facilities in providing the best care while being environmentally sound.

About PAHO/WHO

The Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) works with the countries of the Americas to improve the health and quality of life of its population. Founded in 1902, it is the world’s oldest international public health agency. It serves as the Regional Office of WHO for the Americas and is the specialized health agency of the Inter-American system. For further information, please contact Zenena Moguel, Communications Consultant at [email protected], Rick Rhaburn, Media & Communications at [email protected], or visit paho.org/en/belize

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