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Jul 30, 2003

Belize heads C.A. health group

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With Belize’s Prime Minister Said Musa currently sitting as President of the Central American Integration System, his ministers are now assuming their roles as heads of SICA’s subsidiary bodies. On Tuesday, Minister Mark Espat took over leadership of the Tourism Council, and as of today Minister of Health, Jose Coye, is in charge of COMISCA, working with his Central American colleagues to address health concerns in the sub-region. As Belize was quick to point out, with integration, there must be education.

Jose Coye, Minister of Health

“Curing is extremely expensive, it’s becoming unaffordable. So what we need to do, as a strategic approach is that, even in the case of HIV/AIDS, the mainstay of the response to this will have to be prevention. So we’re putting great emphasis in this health sector reform for Belize, and so it is throughout the region. It’s about preventing, and we only seek to cure what we can’t prevent, so we have to put a lot of emphasis. And it is very much in the preventive areas I can say that the cooperation so far that we have experienced with our bordering countries in the immunization programme, in the vector control programme, in the environmental and public health sector programme. This is where we have been putting a lot of emphasis; it’s more in the preventive side, as it has to be with AIDS. Now certainly we cannot ignore the treatment and the care that will have to be there. But I think the common sense approach, although it has been eluding many countries, is to put the emphasis in the preventive strategy. ”

“We are in the process now of concluding the program for a national health symposium, unprecedented, the first of its kind in the country. And it’s not only to emphasize the health sector reform, in terms of infrastructural and physical inputs, but more to emphasize and bring about a profound change in the way people perceive health and it’s values. So the health symposium will have that at its centre, at the main thrust. That should be coming in the next two months.”

For the next two days, Minister Coye will chair discussions as part of the nineteenth meeting of the Central American Health Ministers at the Radisson Fort George Hotel in Belize City.

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