Belize field school branching out in its third year

By Caribbean Medical News Staff

According to reports from the Belize Ministry of Health, The Belize Field School is “a basic concept” and is an excellent example of students working alongside a community on projects that benefit that community during their International Field Experience.

Now in its third year, the Belize Field School is placing its emphasis on building communities of practice. To this end, participants in the School have conducted health assessments in San Martin (Belmopan City) and Santiago Layout (San Ignacio) with a view to showcasing their competencies and their knowledge of public health.

Students were asked to identify chronic conditions within these communities including hypertension, diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular diseases and assess the adverse impacts on certain individuals and how this was impacting the abovementioned communities. The third year programme focused on the education programme entitled “Your Heart, Your Life”.

According to the Ministry of Health in Belize, the programme which was developed by The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute focused on continued education programmes on heart health in the Santiago Juan Community.

According to Dr. Hoare and Dr. Corvin, students assisted with contributions from the Belize Ministry of Health established the programme to fit the Belizean health context and profile.  Consequently, the Santiago Juan Layout outlying community now can boast of a group who completed the “training the trainers program” and are now providing health education to persons living with chronic diseases.

A Nutrition Assessment Survey was also conducted and led by Dr. Wright in 2013 to collect and analyse date with a view to “understanding Belizean dietary patterns” and the impact on chronic diseases. The students also participated in a medical mission that provided medical and dental care to Mayan Communities in Southern Belize.

“Students who participate in the Belize Field School have a unique chance to enhance their competencies. Students are challenged to learn how to establish, build and manage relations with community members and other partners in a low resource setting. Students, who are challenged by their new environments, tend to become more creative thinkers and to find innovative solutions to complex issues”, the release indicated.

The program funded with the assistance from the Department of Global Health and The Office of International Programs.

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