Belize has been awarded approximately six million Belize dollars in grant funding from the Japanese Social Development Fund (JSDF) through the World Bank. Minister of Health Pablo Marin, explained that this will fund a project that will improve the health and nutrition of children in Mayan communities of the Toledo district. This grant donation will officially be handed over at a ceremony to be held tomorrow. According to the Ministry of Health, the grant is intended to improve the health of children through an approach that focuses on pre-natal care and nutrition, monitoring of expecting mothers and also through school health interventions at the primary school level. The project also intends to address malnutrition in children under age five, develop healthy lifestyle programmes for Primary school children, strengthen the access of community-based health services and also promote behavior change in the attitude and perception towards health in the selected communities. While the Ministry of Health is the grant recipient, the Toledo District Health Council will be the implementing agency responsible for the administration, monitoring and evaluation of the project. A team from the World Bank lead by Carmen Carpio will be visiting Belize during this week to plan site visits to schools in the southern districts and also facilitate workshop sessions with Ministry of Health representatives and community leaders of the south. The JSDF is funded by the Government of Japan and administered by the World Bank. The fund has been an important source of financing for lower income countries around the world.

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