Posted: Tuesday, May 30, 2023. 2:13 pm CST.
By Zoila Palma Gonzalez: Today, the Government of Belize announced the establishment of a new University Hospital for Belmopan.
The Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW) reiterated that its priority is to strengthen universal health coverage, which means that all Belizeans have access to the full range of quality health services they need.
“This should be accompanied by the fundamental strategy of ‘improving the quality of care.’ This is one of the many underlying principles that made the Government of Belize consider the construction of another hospital in Belmopan. Apart from providing tertiary care services in a phased-in approach, it will also be the secondary care hospital replacing the current structure that has deteriorated significantly,” a statement from the Government noted.
The Ministry says that since the founding of the KHMH in 1995, the population of Belize has grown from 198,000 to 417,000.
“KHMH continues to be the only tertiary care public hospital in the country, providing specialized care in surgery, neurosurgery, cardiology, neurology, intensive care for adults and children, just to name some key areas.
At that time, in 1995, the combined population for Stann Creek and Toledo was approximately 39,200; now it is 83,000.
The Western Regional Hospital has been the support health facility for the southern health region.
It is essential then, to replace the current structure and make tertiary care services also available and accessible to the residents of the western and both southern districts. The establishment of some tertiary care, for example, intensive care, in this new hospital will bring improved, critical services for the population closer to home,” the Ministry added.
The Ministry says that it is cognizant of the issue of human resources, and the concern surrounding staffing of the new facility, and efforts are being made through bilateral agreements to recruit specialized human resources.
The need for more human resources stems from the expansion of allied health services, along with the creation of relevant posts, and the expansion towards 24/7 coverage in all district hospitals.
In addition, the Ministry says that the project will ensure an alternative for the evacuation of KHMH should the need arise especially during the hurricane season.
It is therefore imperative to create a permanent alternative for evacuation. This is also an underlying reason for this project.
The disaster mitigation strategy also demands that our health facilities be climate resilient.
This is an effort to help assure the continuity of quality health and human care before, during and after extreme weather events.
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