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A time of Courage

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Posted: Monday, April 6, 2020. 1:09 pm CST.

The views expressed in this article are those of the writer and not necessarily those of Breaking Belize News.

By Valentino Shal: It took courage for Maria Estela to make a public declaration about how her husband’s case was handled. We don’t have a deep culture of accountability in Belize and most of the time we “leave it to God.” But some things need to be said and need to be pointed out, for the good of all. To come out publicly to tell her story during her time of grief took a lot of courage.

It appears that a lot of opportunities were missed by the health system and health care professionals to detect Mr. Pipersburg’s case. It does appear that Western Regional is not fully equipped or prepared. Pointing this out does not mean that the Ministry of Health or the health system are being blamed for his death. COVID 19 can be a fatal disease. Many have recovered. It does mean that it is call to improve systems, processes and responses within our health system in the best way we can.

Ms. Estela called specific names. Does this mean she is picking a fight with them? No. We can’t pick a fight with Dr. Manzanero. Why? Because what he is doing also takes a lot of courage. We are in the middle of a crisis and frontline medical personnel are literally risking their lives to help the public. That takes tremendous courage.

I know some in the medical profession may feel slighted by the criticism. But I also know that some on the frontline wish for these very same things in the system to improved, addressed or adjusted because it protects them as well. The decision-makers have a responsibility not just to the patients but also to those they have deployed to the frontlines. For instance, the media is getting information on cases before people working inside our hospitals. That should not be.

Dr. Manzanero and his team are under tremendous pressure by the virus itself and they are trying to be as effective as they can in their response. The death in this case and the public scrutiny and criticism that has ensued has undoubtedly added to that pressure. We need Dr. Manzanero and his team in place, focused on this disease. We also need them to have the courage to face the constructive criticism that comes their way. The number of cases are expected to increase. Some will likely die. We have no choice but to face up to it.

To those of us locked up in our homes with supplies starting to dwindle. To the Police on the streets patrolling and keeping watch. To the essential workers who must step out onto the streets of uncertainty early in the morning. To the COVID 19 response team. To the nurses and doctors who must treat those who come into their care. Have courage. This is a time of courage and courage will see us through.

 

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