World Health Day provides an opportunity for the world community to
come together for one day to focus on actions that can improve the
health of all our people. Every year we highlight one important issue –
but we ask everyone to consider all the things we need to do to keep our
people healthy and well.
This year we focus on the issue of antimicrobial resistance under the theme “No action today – No cure tomorrow!”
antimicrobial resistance – or let us simply say drug resistance –
happens when the germs that cause disease change in such a way that the
medicines which we use to cure those diseases become less effective. The
germs become resistant to our medicines. I have heard them sometimes
referred to as “Superbugs.” This is an important issue because
“Superbugs” can spread to others, can cause huge extra costs for
patients and can even cause death.
We can stop this from
happening. We need to make sure that we take the right medicine, in the
right amounts, at the right time. Before you take medicines please check
with your doctor or your pharmacists to make sure the medicine is right
for you. Make sure that you take the entire course of medicine.
people stop taking the medicine as soon as they begin to feel better –
but this allows the microbes that are left to adapt and become
Sometimes people take medicines that were prescribed
for other people or even take medicines from people not qualified to
Let me give you an example……In the last few years
the Ministry of Health has reduced the number of cases of malaria in
Belize from thousands a year to just about 150 total cases in each of
the last 2 years. This is a great achievement by all of our hard working
officers throughout the country. The Ministry tests the type of
mosquito and the type of malaria parasites we have and makes sure that
we know the best medicine for them. The best possible advice is free,
the best possible test is free and the best possible medicine is free –
yet we still have some people who get tested and get medicines from
people outside the Ministry who are not properly qualified and who give
out the wrong medicine for our type of malaria. This can cause drug
resistance and could cause our medicines to become less effective in the
Now – antimicrobial resistance is not the only health
challenge facing our people. We all know about diabetes, about
hypertension. We all know someone who has been affected by cancer or
maybe by HIV. We all know friends or family members who have been
involved in road traffic incidents or even in violent crime. And most if
not all of these challenges can be controlled or prevented if we start
to change the way we live – the way we look after ourselves and our
family members. As our mothers and fathers taught us when we were
children - Prevention is better than cure my friends.
diet and plenty of exercise. Don’t smoke. Drink responsibly. Drive
safely. Safe sex every time. Look out for yourselves, your friends and
your family – don’t put yourself at risk. Keep out of harm’s way.
These are not new messages but we need to do more to make these messages real for each and every one of us.
today – on World Health Day – give yourself a special gift. Stop for a
moment and ask what you can do for yourself to make health and wellness a
reality for you. Think about what you eat and drink. Think about
exercise. Think about how you get medicines and how you take them. Think
about what you can do to keep yourself and your family safe, healthy
Each and every one of you, my Belizean brothers and sisters, are the most valuable resource of this our beloved country.
this World Health Day on behalf of the Ministry of Health and our
partners throughout Belize and around the world, I wish you all health
May God Bless you all and may God bless Belize.