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US Embassy gifts thermo-cycler machine to Belize Central Medical Laboratory

By Michelle Sutherland

The United States Embassy in Belize, last Wednesday, gifted a thermo-cycler machine including supplies and support training valued at approximately USD $ 150,000 to the Central Medical Laboratory, which will allow the lab to conduct rapid and accurate detection of viruses and bacteria that causes diseases including zika, influenza, dengue and chikungunya among others.

The donation was made possible through the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and was handed over at a ceremony hosted at the Central Medical Laboratory compound in Belize City on January 31st.

The new technology will allow for testing to be be carried out within the country rather than sending samples abroad, reducing the cost of testing, early detection, planned public health responses and immediate diagnosis and treatment for affected persons.
Dr. Geraldine Morazan, director of Laboratory Services said: “It will give us the opportunity to a prompt diagnosis by detecting the presence of the virus which will enable us to respond quicker. In the past, we have been testing in the Central American Laboratory, but now we will be able to do more sensible testing.”

CEO in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Ramon Figueroa, also spoke at the event and said that the new equipment will allow health professionals to determine the exact type of virus that is in the country thereby avoiding any type of medical disaster or widespread outbreaks.
Data gathered from testings will also be stored on file for future reference and will assist health personnel in effectively tracking the number of influenza cases in the country which will in turn inform health policy decisions.

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