With the help of Taiwan, Belize now has a program in place to help avoid Renal or kidney failures, a chronic and sometimes irreversible condition where the kidney fails to adequately filter waste products from the blood. H.E. Ambassador Benjamin Ho and Minister of Health Pablo Marin signed the Public Health and Medical Skills Cooperation Agreement and the Renal Failure Prevention Project between Belize and the Republic of China (Taiwan) on Wednesday at the Western Regional Health Vaccine Room in Belmopan. The Agreement and Project will now be taken into force for 5 years and 3 years respectively.
According to statistic figures released from the Ministry of Health, Belize, the prevalence rate of obesity in Belize is over 60%, and the rate of hypertension and Diabetes among adults is over 30% respectively, which contribute directly to the development of chronic renal failure. Thus adequate treatment of patients at the early stage to prevent the exacerbation can effectively reduce the socio-economic cost on the whole society.
Also, statistical figures from 2014 reveal that diseases of the heart (13%) and diabetes (9.5%) rank within the top three (3) causes of mortality in Belize. One of the risk factors for these NCDs is obesity, therefore it is important to address this factor through the promotion of healthy lifestyle practices.
After signing the agreement Ambassador Benjamin Ho said that the agreement was a milestone in medical cooperation between Belize and Taiwan.
“Medical cooperation is so important, because it is the foundation of a nation’s development,” he said.
Also in co-signing the agreements, Hon. Pablo Marin thanked the Republic of China on Taiwan for their assistance in preventing renal failures. He said that as part of the program, a series of events, such as training for nurses, technicians and community health workers will be undertaken as well as the screening for the disease.
“This disease is a non communicable disease, but it is something that is affecting a lot of our people…I think with the proper screening, with the proper diagnosis, it can be prevented.
The Hon. Marin also said that the prevention of chronic renal failures will also need collaboration with the community, because the community “…have (sic) to start to eat healthy, do exercise…” He also said that by working with Taiwan and working together with the community, a better health system for Belize can be attained.
According to a press release from the Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan) this Renal Failure Prevention Project will be implemented from February 2016 until January 2019 for 3 years. The total budget input will be approximate US$ 2.2 million, which will provide educational lectures to at least 16 thousand people, local training programs for at least 44 GPs, 4 case managers, 2 health information system technicians, and 250 community health workers. In addition, this project will also dispatch Taiwanese consultants specializing in the establishment of chronic renal failure prevention and control system to Belize on a minimum of 17 occasions. Furthermore, it also includes the establishment and launch of a tracking and management system for chronic disease cases, including alarm and follow-up functions, in at least one health institution at each level of the health system.
The release also states that it is always a priority to facilitate the mutual cooperation in the health field and enhance the welfare of people between Belize and Taiwan. To achieve this goal, even before this agreement was signed, under the arrangement of the Taiwan Embassy, Taiwan ICDF and the Far Eastern Memorial Hospital have twice sent medical professional groups to visit Belize to discuss and evaluate the possibility of implementing the said project. Through joint efforts, both parties reached consensus and lead to the signing of the cooperation Agreement and Project on Wednesday.
In a press release this evening, the Ministry of Health, reaffirmed recognizing the urgent need to address non-communicable diseases (NCDs) as direct contributors to the development of chronic renal failure, developed the 2013-2023 Belize National Plan of Action for the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases.
The Government of Belize, through the Ministry of Health, is very appreciative of the technical assistance offered by the Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and welcomes this initiative as an important tool in combating the increase of non-communicable diseases in Belize.