For the next two days, Belize is hosting health officials from 13 South American countries on San Pedro. They are attending the Amazon Malaria Initiative meeting which affords countries of the region an opportunity to share experiences on interventions in the prevention and control of malaria.

Of special interest at this meeting is the use of Long Lasting Insecticide Treated Bed Nets. Belize has been participating in the initiative for the last several years now, and according to Dr. Jose Marenco, Head of Belize's Vector Control Unit, the Amazon countries bring with them a wealth of information on the topic of Malaria.

Dr. Jose Marenco- Head of Vector Control Unit
"Belize has been participating in this initiative for several years now. The relationship has intensified over the last 2 years actually. So it was decided that there was a need to have a meeting to review the strategy for the implementation of impregnated insecticide treated nets. It's something that Belize doesn't have much experience in. And so when we were approached about hosting the meeting, we found it important so we embraced the idea, and so we have 13 countries from South America coming to Belize to share their experience in the implementation of insecticide treated bed nets. So we have a couple of our associates from the Ministry of Health and Red Cross - we invited also - to share, listen and learn during these 2 days. Red Cross has distributed bed nets during times of disaster; we appreciate that very much. Ministry of Health has, since 2009, implemented bed net distribution also, but we do it not in a very systematic way. So learn a lot, not just to distribute them, but to monitor them, to see their residual effect - even the disposal at the end of the lifetime of the bed nets. Certainly, as we continue bringing malaria incidence down, this initiative can help us to keep the achievements so far."

The two day meetings are being jointly sponsored by the Pan American Health Organization and USAID.

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