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Dec 11, 1998

Health issues topic of conference

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Today, a workshop on finding ways to promote awareness of health problems and issues concluded today at the National Development Foundation of Belize. According to Joan Burke, the Acting Director of HECOPAB, the two day meeting sponsored by the Ministry of Health, PAHO/WHO and UNICEF was held to not only mobilize communities but to see how they can help address the problems.

Joan Burke, Acting Director, HECOPAB

“Belize is going through several processes of reform. One is health reform and we felt that it was timely for us to bring in our key players in health as well as those other stake holders in health because there has been a shift in health problems as well as conditions in Belize. And we know that we have very limited resources within the Ministry of Health and many times people would pay attention to health only when they are being affected by ill health. And we felt that it was necessary for us to look more at the promotional aspect of health, promoting it in such a way that it becomes a business and have our population enjoying the optimum health that is possible.

We have a variety of issues, health issues affecting our country. For example we have road traffic accidents which is one of the leading causes of deaths in Belize. We have domestic violence; we have violence on a whole. Just recently when you turn on the TV, something is happening to a child, a child is missing and all that is affecting the health of our country. And we are challenging the participants of this two-day workshop to look at these issues that has a direct impact on the community which is sort of de-stabilizing the health of their individual communities and come up with strategies in which they can address these issues in a manner in which we can encourage the community and everybody to participate. Because the key in health promotion is community participation.”

The workshop was facilitated by Pat Brandon, a Caribbean health education and promotion specialist.


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