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BELIZE RECEIVES ELDERLY CARE PLAN

In 2003, Martha Pelaez volunteered with FAVACA in Belize to work with the National Council on Aging (NCA) to develop of 5 year national strategic plan for services provided to a rapidly aging population. The NCA’s primary purpose is to advocate for the changes that are necessary in Belizean society that will improve the quality of life for older people now and for future generations. The NCA is in the final year of their 5 year plan and contacted FAVACA to find an expert who could help to evaluate their success in implementing the plan. The volunteer was also requested to work with NCA’s staff and board members to develop another 5-10 year strategic national plan on aging. 2007 FAVACA Volunteer of the Year, Martha Pelaez of Miami Florida, agreed to provide the requested training and offer her suggestions in designing and implementing a new strategic plan. Pelaez, the Director of the Healthy Aging Initiative of the Health Foundation of South Floridaand a retired gerontologist with the Pan American Health Organization, traveled to Indian Creek located in the province of Toledo, Belize November 26-November 29, 2008.

COMMITTEE FOR FAMILIES AND CHILDREN FOCUSES ON STRATEGIC PLANNING

In an attempt to implement the goals and objectives contained in the National Plan of Action to benefit the people in Belize, the National Committee for Families and Children (NCFC) foresaw the need for training in the area of strategic planning, monitoring and evaluation. NCFC recognized that local NGO's were not consistently implementing operational plans according to the stated goals and objectives of the national plan and that some did not have plans at all. The NCFC, as the major advisory body to the Government in Belize on families and children, needed to ensure that effective plans were in place in a variety of areas such as education, health and delivery of community services. Shanda Williams, project coordinator for the NCFC requested assistance from FAVACA for meeting the training needs. Fred Seamon, veteran volunteer from Tallahassee traveled to Belize June 17-20, 2007 to provide training on strategic planning, monitoring and evaluation. More than 30 representatives from local service providers, governmental units, health and educational groups and service organizations participated in the training. In turn, they assumed the responsibility for assisting others on a train-the-trainer basis. The participants acquired insight, knowledge and tools for developing and implementing strategic plans and for monitoring and evaluating progress and results. Seamon is a senior partner and consultant with the firm of MGT of America, Inc. in Tallahassee and a former Assistant Professor at the FSU's Askew School of Public Administration and Public Policy.

FLORIDA VOLUNTEER CONTRIBUTES TO LAYING FOUNDATION FOR HIV/AIDS PREVENTION PROGRAMS TARGETING THE YOUTH IN BELIZE

Facing an alarming number of HIV/AIDS cases in Belize among the youth and lacking community prevention programs, Deborah Domingo, dean of the St. John's College, School of Professional Studies requested assistance from FAVACA for establishing prevention programs in secondary schools. First time volunteer Ayasha Richardson answered the call for help by facilitating a workshop that was attended by 20 participants June 4-9, 2007. Teachers, administrators, health professionals and community representatives benefited from the workshop by acquiring knowledge and skills for developing community prevention programs and policies and for advocating the implementation of HIV/AIDS educational programs in secondary schools. The activities included a healthy exchange of information and discussions that touched on current policies, perceived barriers to implementing programs, future policies for incorporating prevention programs into the school curriculum, resources needed, strategic planning and a national action plan with objectives that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time sensitive. Richardson, a prevention program evaluator with the Florida Bureau of HIV/AIDS, Division of Disease Control under the Department of Health (DOH) in Tallahassee has analyzed and evaluated HIV/AIDS preventions programs throughout Florida; conducted quality improvement site visits to county health departments pursuant to state guidelines and is credited with creating an Epi Profile of Haitians located on the DOH website.

BELIZE HEALTH CARE WORKERS RECEIVE VALUABLE TRAINING AND ASSISTANCE IN CARING FOR OLDER PERSONS AND IMPROVING NATIONAL CONDITIONS

The National Council on Aging, under the leadership of Ms. Lindy Jeffery, Executive Director, requested assistance from FAVACA for conducting regional workshops on issues affecting the elderly population in Belize. As part of a national plan of action, the Council aimed at training persons who care for senior citizens in their homes since the availability of trained healthcare professionals and facilities for the older persons is extremely limited. More than 80 participants received training on home nursing care, nutrition, health promotion and disease prevention including exposure to specific health issues such as Alzheimer's disease, heart disease, and Diabetes. The workshops were held on November 5-13, 2006 in Belize City and the Toledo District. Miamian volunteers making up the interdisciplinary training team included: Dr. Pamela Elfenbein, Director of Education and Training, The Center on Aging; Dr. Helen Cornely, Chair and Associate Professor, Department of Physical Therapy; Dr. Yvonne Parchment, Associate Professor, School of Nursing, and Dr. Nancy Wellman, Professor, Department of Dietetics and Nutrition and Director National Policy and Resource Center on Nutrition and Aging.


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