– Press Release, Belmopan, August 2, 2010- Belize and Mexico held a technical meeting on Dengue on July 30, as part of the Belize-Mexico Border Health Commission. The aim of the meeting was to coordinate strategies and exchange information in order to prevent and fight dengue.
The meeting was held at the Corozal Free Zone administration building and was attended by government officials of the Mexico’s Federal Ministry of Health and the Quintana Roo. Department of Health, as well as the Belize’s Ministry of Health (MOH).
The Mexican delegation was headed by Mr. Juan Carlos Azueta, Quintana Roo Secretary of Health, and Dr. Michael Pitts, Belize’s Director of Health Services. Both delegations made presentations about the current state and the occurrence of dengue in both countries.
After discussing strategies to coordinate actions and cooperation, the delegations agreed to join forces to fight dengue. First, the Quintana Roo Health Department and the MOH will conduct research on the effects of insecticides being sprayed in Belize and Quintana Roo on mosquito and its larvae. The samples collected by the Ministry of Health will be sent to the Health Department in Chetumal for analysis. The objective is to test the insecticides effectiveness on similar mosquito population on both sides of the border and to share the final results.
Second, the Belize’s Ministry of Health will send to the Quintana Roo Department of Health some samples of Belizean patients for analysis in order to identify the dengue serotype or dengue virus group. Currently there are four different dengue serotypes worldwide. The samples will be analysed free of cost at the Public Health Laboratory in Chetumal, Mexico. To Belize, this will mean a substantial reduction in the cost of sending samples to the Caribbean Epidemiology Centre (CAREC) in Trinidad and Tobago to analyze and classify the dengue serotype.
At the end of the meeting, both delegations agreed also to reinforce the public education campaigns in order to prevent and fight dengue. They also underlined the importance of public participation to reduce the breeding sites.
The Belize-Mexico Border Health Commission was established on 22 December 2008 by a bi-national agreement between the governments of Belize and Mexico. The Commission facilitates and strengthens mutual cooperation on health through a legal framework. It also provides more attention to public health at the border, as well as fighting chronicle and vector-borne diseases, like dengue and malaria.