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Sep 3, 2013

Salud Mesoamerica 2015: Maternal Health Care Initiative Launched in Belize

Dr. Peter Allen

Salud Mesoamerica 2015, a regional health initiative being carried out by the Inter-American Development Bank with funding from a number of charitable organizations, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, met with Ministry of Health officials in Belize recently.  The purpose of the program is to improve access, usage and quality of maternal, infant, child and reproductive health in northern and western Belize.  To jumpstart the project the Government of Belize has pledged a million dollars for the first eighteen months of the program.  News Five spoke with Dr. Peter Allen, Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Health.

 

Dr. Peter Allen, CEO, Ministry of Health

“It’s an important project for us.  The Salud Mesoamerica Project came out of something that was originally Plan Puebla Panama some years ago.  It’s a grant.  It’s funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, by the Carlos Slim Foundation and by the Kingdom of Spain.  It’s administered by the Inter-American Development Bank and implemented by our project management unit with our project coordinator here, Martha Woodye.  She’s doing an excellent job for us.  It’s a four million dollar project and it particularly looks at challenges which in 2008 we had identified to our progress in maternal health, in infant and in child mortality.  Particularly then it looks at ways that we can make sure that mothers and babies have a healthy pregnancy and have the best possible chances in life after a successful delivery.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“I understand that this particular project is targeted towards two specific regions within the country, the north, as well as the west.  Can you elaborate on this?”

 

Dr. Peter Allen

“Absolutely.  The project in its international nature, for countries in the Mesoamerican region, targets really the most vulnerable populations.  Historically in Belize, the most vulnerable populations are in Toledo.  Now we also have different projects which compliment each other, so the Japanese Social Development Fund grant of around six or seven million dollars is focusing down south in the Toledo and South Stann Creek areas and our surveys on micronutrients and malnutrition indicate that some of the biggest challenges facing us are in the north and in the western regions, as well as the southern region.  So this project really compliments those other projects and you can imagine that, I think it’s clear to people that we are facing challenges with young women becoming pregnant really at too young an age.”

 

The Mesoamerican Health Initiative Program in Belize is headed by Dr. Peter Allen and Ian MacArthur for the IDB.  The first of three planned programs expects to target upwards of thirty thousand underprivileged young women and children.

 

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