By Jem Smith
On Thursday, June 10, the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) in Belize handed over cold chain equipment to the Ministry of Health & Wellness (MOHW) at an official ceremony held at the National Vaccine Building in Belmopan. Alison Parker, UNICEF Representative to Belize, delivered the equipment to Hon. Michel Chebat, Minister of Health and Wellness. The equipment includes fourteen 538 LT refrigerators that will be used to strengthen cold chain storage facilities at district levels nationwide. The new equipment will further improve vaccine management and build the national health system’s capacity to respond to future outbreaks and pandemics. The donations are a result of the partnership formalized through a rolling work plan between UNICEF Belize and the MOHW. The three-year plan outlines strategic support to be provided to address national health priorities and protect and invest sustainably in essential child health services to ensure continuation of services during the pandemic.
The pandemic has negatively impacted the most vulnerable groups, while obstructing access to education and other basic social and health services for children. According to global data, almost 3 million deaths among children under 5 years of age are preventable by vaccine. UNICEF Belize is focused on optimizing Belize’s cold chain system to improve vaccination against COVID-19 and boost universal vaccine coverage. “Immunization is one of the most successful and cost-effective public health investments we can make for future generations,” stated Representative Parker.
By Jem Smith