UNICEF delivers 8,000 testing kits to boost COVID-19 response in Belize as cases increase
BELMOPAN, Belize – 8,000 testing kits have reached Belize to increase the country’s COVID-19 testing capacity amid the current rapid increase of cases. Funded largely through the generous contribution of the Probitas Foundation and the UNICEF COVID-19 Humanitarian Appeal for Children, the kits were handed over to the Ministry of Health today to support Belize’s COVID-19 response.
“UNICEF continues to bring critical supplies to Belize to support the response efforts and protect children and their communities against the pandemic,” said Michel Guinand, Officer in Charge at UNICEF in Belize. “This is especially vital and timely when the country is seeing a rapid increase in confirmed cases,” he added, “and as a consequence the reopening of the schools has been postponed.”
As COVID-19 cases in Belize have risen by more than eight times in the last 15 days, increasing testing capacity is crucial to save lives.
Lizett Bell, Director of the Policy, Planning and Project Management Unit at the Ministry of Health, commented, “These testing kits are important for the Ministry of Health to continue to provide COVID-19 testing for the population of Belize. With the current surge in cases, these kits will surely be beneficial.”
These supplies complement UNICEF's response, which has already delivered five oxygen concentrators, 840 masks, 200,000 gloves and other personal protective equipment (PPE), such as biohazard bags and goggles, to national, regional and community health facilities across the country.
UNICEF has also supported the Belize national medical laboratory team through the training of five PCR staff to update their knowledge on COVID-19 testing – in close partnership with the Ministry of Health; PAHO/WHO; and Thermo Fisher Scientific, a US supplier of healthcare solutions.
To date, UNICEF and partners have reached tens of thousands of children and families in Belize as part of the national COVID-19 response in the areas of health; education; social protection; psychosocial support; child protection; nutrition; and water, sanitation and hygiene.
About UNICEF’s COVID-19 response in Belize
Globally, COVID-19 is claiming lives and livelihoods. As families struggle to stay afloat, the crisis is battering essential services that secure the education and protection of our children, often with deadly costs. The most vulnerable children – such as those affected by poverty, exclusion or family violence – are facing even greater risks, cut off from existing support.
UNICEF’s COVID-19 Response Plan has two priorities: 1) to reduce COVID-19 transmission and mortality through the public health response, and 2) to mitigate the socioeconomic impacts on children and families, especially the most vulnerable. Actions range from securing critical hygiene and prevention items for use in schools, health facilities, and public spaces, to reaching children and their families through messaging on COVID-19 prevention – as well as producing and broadcasting messages for parents and caregivers to assist children at home with psychosocial support and distance learning.
UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. To save their lives. To defend their rights. To help them fulfil their potential. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, every day, to build a better world for everyone. And we never give up.