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Jan 6, 2017

In Belize District, Residents Not Feeling Very Well

Javier Zuniga

The Central Health Region has released the second part of its bi-annual health bulletin for the Belize District for 2016. The data, which is pulled from the Belize Health Information System, shows that communicable diseases have, for the most part, remained the same when compared with data from 2015. There are, however, some conditions that have popped up at the top of the list that weren’t there in the first half of 2016. In the category of non-communicable diseases, the regulars like hypertension, cancer and diabetes made the list. Doctor Javier Zuniga of Central Health Region says that there is a slight shift in the prevalence of communicable to non-communicable diseases for 2016. He cited high carb intake, lack of exercise and other lifestyle factors as the major contributors to the high numbers of diabetes, hypertension, etc… Simply put, Doctor Zuniga told us that the health of the Belize District population can be classified as ‘moderate to poor.’


Dr. Javier Zuniga, Regional Manager, Central Health Region

“For 2016, we will see that for the communicable diseases are basically the same diseases that persist within the population of the Belize District; which would be respiratory infections and gastroenteritis. But we also have other conditions that appeared such as vaginal infections which also pre-dominate within the population; primarily the female population.  In terms of the non-communicable diseases, again, we are seeing a transition like all the other countries around us, that we are moving away from communicable diseases towards non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and asthma. So these remain the top diseases affecting our population.”


Andrea Polanco

“In terms of the number for those non-communicable diseases; the cancers, diabetes, hypertension- the numbers are they higher in 2016 than in previous years or have we remained perhaps at the same level in terms of the number of incidences you’ve seen?”


Dr. Javier Zuniga

“In terms of the new cases which will be the incidences; this is actually the first year that we are trying to get the real numbers and this is only for public clinics because we don’t have the data for private health facilities. So we have started to do this because we want to know how many cases per month we are diagnosing within our health facilities and this will give us an idea as well of the prevalence of the disease within the Belize District population. What we are noticing is that we have about twelve patients being diagnosed every month; which means the disease is present in our population.”


Andrea Polanco

“Now, as it relates to the causes of deaths in 2016; what can you tell us about the factors associated with those?”


Dr. Javier Zuniga

“Two of the causes that pre-dominate within the top ten causes of death would be cardio-vascular diseases and cancer. And these are directly related to the non-communicable diseases. So, diabetes, for example, hypertension. If we look also at other risk factors which would be hyperlipidemia, so high fats within the blood stream, if we look at obesity – these are contributing factors to the causes of death. We also know we have high crime rate within the population; homicides is also there. The data that we have presented is only up to October 2016. So, we do expect that there will be higher cases of cardio vascular diseases than homicides when we do the final end of year report.”


Andrea Polanco

“If you look at all of this and you summarize or describe, how would you rank or class the health of the Belizean population ; is it in dire need of interventions or are we ok – just down in the middle? How would you describe it?”


Dr. Javier Zuniga

“I would say that we are in moderate to poor health and this is because the statistics showed that one: we are not doing much to prevent us from getting ill like the bad diet, for example, so we need to change the way we eat. We need to change our lifestyle in terms of the intake of alcohol, smoking tobacco. We need to also increase the intake of fruits, vegetables; increase of water within our diet. These are things the population needs to be aware of.”

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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1 Response for “In Belize District, Residents Not Feeling Very Well”

  1. Teddy Steinway says:

    What a waste of an MD to be citing statistics.

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