Belmopan, September 6th, 2013. A total of sixteen (16) new Peace Corps Volunteers are in country for a two year work mission. They aim to partner with community health workers on a Rural Family Health Programme, an initiative of the Ministry of Health and Peace Corps. Volunteers will be assigned to Cayo, Orange Walk, Toledo and Belize Districts.
The pioneer team arrived on June 26 and was enrolled in an intensive orientation and training program which ended August 13. This marks the first time that all volunteers will be assigned to the Ministry of Health to work in primarily rural communities for their stay; and the first all Peace Corps Volunteers will live with host families for the full duration of service.
Volunteers will carry out their work alongside the community health workers. The main purpose of their work-mission is to provide support to Ketchi and Spanish speaking villages adopting positive practices that contribute to the improved health of women and children. Areas being addressed at community level include; preventing and caring for children with common illnesses, improving feeding practices and raising awareness on the prevention of non-communicable diseases.
In September 2012, a letter of intent to collaborate on a rural health initiative was signed between the Ministry of Health and Peace Corps Belize. This outlined the creation of a new development project that focuses on rural community health and wellbeing. A memorandum of understanding (MOU) will be signed between the Ministry of Health and the Peace Corps to develop projects and activities in the health sector with the MOH network of community health workers in villages around the country and with the Health Education and Community Participating Bureau (HECOPAB).
The swearing in ceremony for the Peace Corp Volunteers took place in Belmopan at the George Price Centre on Friday, September 6, 2013. More than 1,800 Peace Corps volunteers have served in Belize since the program was established in 1962. The Ministry of Health is pleased to further develop this strategic partnership with the Peace Corps as we strive to improve access to quality health services for all Belizeans.