The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Belize in the framework of the Global Fund project titled “Building Resilience Through Innovation and National Accountability for the HIV and TB Response in Belize” handed over essential items to support the Ministry of Health in the ongoing COVID-19 response. The testing equipment and ventilator was handed over to the Ministry of Health and the vehicle was handed over to the CSO Hub to support outreach to vulnerable populations at a brief ceremony being held at the UNDP Office in Belmopan on Tuesday, June 23, 2020.
The tests will allow for the decentralization of COVID-19 testing as they will utilize existing Gene Xpert equipment originally purchased to support Tuberculosis testing; resulting in an expansion of laboratory analysis capacities beyond Belize City to include the Western Regional Hospital. As noted in March and April with the pandemic at its height in Europe and North America, access to ventilators globally was a severe challenge and, therefore, this vital piece of medical equipment will substantially improve the local capacity should this be necessary.
The vehicle is being donated to the coordinators of CSO Hub, GOJoven Belize (GOBelize), to support service delivery. The CSO Hub is the coordinated effort of eleven (11) CSO’s in the HIV and TB response to collaborate among each other and with key government ministries to reach key populations in Belize with prevention, testing, and human rights support.
The Global Fund project is implemented by UNDP on behalf of the National AIDS Commission who serves as the Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) of the grant. The Ministry of Health, the CSO Hub, the Belize Family Life Association and Hand in Hand Ministries serve as subrecipients. The value of the medical supplies is approximately USD 50,000 or BLZ 100,000. In addition, the Ministry of Health and the CSO Hub will further benefit from additional funds in the sum USD 120,500 or BLZ 241,000 secured by UNDP and the National AIDS Commission through the Global Fund’s COVID-19 Response Mechanism. This funding will support an additional 1400 COVID 19 tests, 1000 sample collection kits, Gene Xpert TB tests, salaries for laboratory and nursing staff, PPEs, hand sanitizer, and psychosocial and legal support to key populations.