Tackling the Coronavirus

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Dr. Daisy Guerra

National Health Policies, Strategies and Plans play an essential role in defining a country’s vision and policy direction that is best for ensuring the health of its population. Today, the People’s United Party presents a plan that responds to the growing calls for strengthening the health system and renewal of health care: universal coverage, people- centered care, emphasis on public health and health in all policies.

A health system is more than a mix of facilities and medical consultations. It is a structure within which people and organizations interact to mobilize and allocate resources for preventing and treating diseases and injuries, hence, for a health system to be effective it must rest on certain fundamental pillars. One of them being Information, Surveillance and Research.  

Today, I want to focus on this pillar and with good reason! Where once there was a  public boast of the ministry is ready and prepared, now there is uncertainty to get  tested, knowing results and pleas of health care workers being burnt out, henceforth, affecting surveillance, information and research for better decision making for the country’s health….we are faced with a health system that is overburdened and unable to cope! This is not the Health System that the PUP envisions for the people!  The strengthening of this pillar will steer the health sector from a command and control model to engaging interaction and collaboration between the health sector and other sectors in society.

The PUP recognizes that health information is key for the analysis, dissemination and use of reliable and timely health information for decision makers, both on a regular basis and in emergencies. To achieve this the PUP will have a skilled team with:

  • The capacity to detect, investigate, communicate and contain events that threaten public health security; with emphasis in public health surveillance,
  • The capacity to provide epidemiologic laboratory support so as to facilitate accurate analytic results in a timely manner and,
  • Promote the use of telemedicine and telehealth in the country. This will be well organized with policy and protocols taking into account the recommendations of the Belize Medical and Dental Association.

The importance of data cannot be stressed enough. Covid-19 has proven that public health surveillance comprises a wide range of efforts not only from public health sector but other health partners and the community so as to effectively trace and respond to the disease trends and threats.  The health system is the heart of how the country responds to disease threats and protects its people, reason why PUP commits to investing in technologies and human capital by building on epidemiological and laboratory capacities and improving the required supply chain management to respond to the country’s needs during health security threats.  We are committed to continue to build upon the lessons learned so far from the pandemic, unlike the cuts in health investments that our country has experienced for the past 12 years, the People United Party, under the leadership of the Hon. John Briceño, commits to adjust its strategies to enhance preparedness and response to this pandemic and other future health crisis accordingly.

The decisive leadership by the future PUP government will ensure that the implementation of the strategies for the strengthening of this pillar, will not fail on its transparency, solidarity, accountability and effective communication.

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