Saturday, June 15, 2024

Belize develops action plan to strengthen governance and improve public health capacities through an emphasis on the Essential Public Health Functions


Since May 2023, the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MoHW) in partnership with the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) has been undertaking a comprehensive evaluation of the Essential Public Health Functions (EPHFs) in Belize. As part of the third phase in this process, the MoHW and relevant stakeholders are meeting to develop an action plan that will improve the EPHFs.

In August 2023, almost 60 stakeholders from various Government ministries and departments came together to conduct an assessment and identify gaps in the performance of the EPHFs. Led by the Executive Management team of the MoHW, a two-day meeting was held to review, discuss, and score the gaps according to relevance, feasibility, viability, and national priority. Now that the gap analysis has been completed, the stakeholders are once again being reconvened for a two-day workshop to propose objectives and strategies that will improve the execution of the essential public health functions in Belize.

“For many of our stakeholders, today marks a repeat visit since they had provided inputs into the assessment of institutional capacities in August,” said Dr. Karen Lewis-Bell, PAHO/WHO Representative in Belize. “That exercise allowed the identification of areas of improvement. Now, you, the stakeholders, are here to identify solutions to address the gaps that the MoHW has prioritized as being of the highest importance.”

With funding support from the European Union’s (EU) Health Sector Support Programme, the completion of the action plan can serve as guidance for the development of the country’s new public health strategy as well as for the development of health policies.

As part of Strategic Objective 2 of the EU project which focuses on strengthening the structure, organization, and management of health services in Belize, the two-day workshop will implement ways to strengthen the governance and leadership role of the MoHW. Additionally, a situation analysis of Belize’s health sector, a mapping of all stakeholders involved in the execution of these functions, and a stakeholder consultation have been completed to measure the institutional capacity to undertake EPHFs.

PAHO/WHO continues to work with partners such as the EU to improve health policies and management of the country’s health sector.


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] or visit

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