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Jan 31, 2018

New Equipment to Test for Diseases

The Ministry of Health today received equipment that will assist in the testing of samples to detect various diseases common to Belize such as dengue. The technology is valued at seventy-five thousand dollars and will assist the ministry to promptly deter epidemiological incidents. The gifting took place in Belize City where representatives from various agencies that collaborate with the Ministry were present. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.


Duane Moody, Reporting

Today, at the Central Health Region Conference Room, the Central Medical Laboratory of the Ministry of Health was gifted a thermo-cycler.  The machine, although small, has the capability to test for bacteria and virus that causes diseases such as chikungunya, dengue, zika and other virus in Belize without having to send samples abroad. The molecular testing technology will allow for better surveillance of outbreaks and planned public health responses. It is part of the U.S. Government’s major priorities in partnership with Belize and Central America.


Adrienne Galanek

Adrienne Galanek, Chargé d’Affaires, U.S. Embassy in Belize

“The longstanding collaboration and friendship between the Ministry of Health, the CDC, the National Laboratory and PAHO will continue to improve surveillance and research into these often debilitating diseases which can adversely affect the health of residents of Belize.”


The Center for Decease Control Central America regional office is based in Guatemala, but the organization has been partnering with the country since the 1960’s. In further explaining the function of the health equipment, Doctor Cornelia Kaydos-Daniels of the CDC says that the organization continues to help countries to prevent, detect and respond to health threats on its own.


Cornelia Kaydos-Daniels

Dr. Cornelia Kaydos-Daniels, Acting Director, CDC Central America

“A thermo-cycler doesn’t look like much, but is a machine that enables laboratories to conduct a scientific technique called polymerase chain reaction or PCR. PCRs a technique that makes copies of a segment of the DNA of a virus or other pathogen. Over the past three years, CDC has invested approximately five hundred and fifty thousand U.S. dollars into public health programs in Belize. The CDC Central America Regional Office has worked with Belize since 2010 to build capacity of its local public health workforce through the Field Epidemiology Training Program or FETP. This program trains local frontline disease detectives to track and contain disease outbreaks.”


The equipment, which is valued at about seventy-five thousand dollars, will be used with at the Central Laboratory in Belize City. Director of Laboratory Services, Doctor Gerhaldine Morazan the impact on biological research is impressive.


Gerhaldine Morazan

Dr. Gerhaldine Morazan, Director of Laboratory Services,

“With this technology now in the country, we will be able to test for virus like Doctor Kaydos already explained—dengue, Chikungunya and zika—of public health importance and also influenza which will give us the opportunity to give a prompt diagnosis by detecting the presence of the virus which will enable us to respond quicker. In the past, we have been testing in the Central American Laboratory with immunofluorescence method, but now with PCR, we will be able to be more sensible testing we will be able to identify the different types of influenza.”


Duane Moody for News Five.

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