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Aug 17, 2009

A dozen nations learn about Belize’s Health Info System

Story PictureIt doesn’t come up in your everyday conversations, but the Belize Health Information System (B.H.I.S.) is the topic of discussions at a three day workshop being held at the Princess Hotel. Twelve nations, including Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Jamaica and the Eastern Caribbean Countries, have converged in the Jewel to learn about the development of the B.H.I.S. as well as to share their experiences in strengthening their own healthcare systems. According to National Epidemiologist, Ethan Gough, a wealth of information and ideas is not all that will come out of the workshop. They are also working on a plan of action to better health information systems in the Caribbean sub-region.

Ethan Gough, National Epidemiologist, Ministry of Health
“There was a presentation that was done by Doctor Peter Allen and Dr. Michael Graven where they showed that some specific health outcomes including hypertension, hospitalization and discharge rates before and after the roll out of the Belize Health Information system and that data has shown, just as an example, that with a good information system you can actually improve the outcomes by having information readily available to make decisions. In the long run you improve health outcomes.”

Delahnie Bain
“Okay, based on the information that has come out so far—I know it’s only the first day—but how does our Health Information System measure up to those from the other countries?”

Ethan Gough
“I think Belize is very well ahead of those—probably all the countries here. We have the Ministry of Health, with support from PAHO and Access Tech, an information technology company based in Canada and we have been able to develop one of the first truly national health information systems that is based on electronic medical records or that uses electronic medical records.”

Delahnie Bain
“What kind of information are you hoping will be coming out of this workshop as it relates to our Health Information System?”

Ethan Gough
“The benefit for us is to hear the common challenges across the region and the experiences that these other countries have had in trying to strengthen their Health Information Systems. We expect to learn from them as much they are expecting to learn from us considering that we are further ahead than most of these countries are.”

The workshop ends on Wednesday.

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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