By Aaron Humes: As they did last week in San Ignacio, Minister of Health Kevin Bernard; British High Commissioner Claire Evans; and PAHO/WHO Representative to Belize, Dr. Noreen Jack cut the ribbons to re-open the refurbished, ‘smart’ Cleopatra White Polyclinic in Belize City.
The second oldest health facility in the Old Capital, it is the third of five completed projects sponsored by the United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (UK-FCDO). It boasts new safety measures as well as green technology and improved patient flow allowing efficient and effective delivery of care during disasters, generating operational savings, and reducing disaster losses, making it ‘Smart.’ The total costs of the upgrade are BZ$9,644,931.62.
As Minister Bernard explained, “Moving these facilities into a smart and green facility makes much more significance. We need to ensure there is cost-saving measures that any hospital that we run, any facility we run is costly, so being able to utilize solar, being able to ensure that they have their own water catchment, and being able to have our facilities upgraded to a standard that our people can feel they are getting the best service ever.”
The national health care service is as much about infrastructure, equipment, and facilities as it is about service, he added, and there are hopes to upgrade the larger facilities such as the regional hospitals and Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital which are definitely in need of it.
The remaining facilities to be handed over are the Independence Polyclinic in Stann Creek and the Isabel Palma Polyclinic in San Antonio, Toledo.