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Jun 10, 2015

Medical Mission in Belize Courtesy Anglican Diocese

A U.S. medical mission is in Belize currently providing free medical attention to Belize City residents. The mission was invited for the second time by the Anglican Diocese and is performing at the Saint Mary’s Primary School auditorium where they are testing patients for various illnesses. Duane Moody reports.


Duane Moody, Reporting

Since Monday, a Mission and Outreach Organization out of Florida along with the Anglican Diocese of Belize have been holding an adult medical and a pediatric clinic at the Saint Mary’s Primary School in Belize City. Some forty-nine persons, who worship at the Holy Sacrament Episcopal Church in the U.S. took time to come and offer basic medical checkups to Belizeans.


Erna Cunningham

Erna Cunningham, Team Leader, Medical Mission

“We see all the kids both from the schools and also from the community. we are trying to see as many kids as we can and we have St. John’s All Saints, Queen Square and St. Mary’s school children that the pediatrician would try to see as many of those children as she can. And then we had the adult/medical and we have one physician there with a physician assistant and she is seeing as many people from the community that comes in to see the doctor. We were here last year, the first year when we came and we only went to Queen Square last years; we saw the children there and we saw the need for some construction work in Queen Square. So what happened is that we refurbished a children’s bathroom over in Queen Square and we were also at the Dorothy Menzies School last year; we did construction there also. And we also did vacation bible school and pediatric/medical. And we see the need that we needed to expand the program a little bit and that’s why this year when we came back we brought a second component, the adult medical component.”


It’s day three and over five hundred adults and primary school students have since been seen by the medical practitioners. Pediatrician, Doctor Patricia King, says that some children are suffering from several illnesses including asthma.


Patricia King

Dr. Patricia King, Pediatrician, Medical Mission

“This morning, I’ve seen some very sick asthmatic children; I actually had two children that we had to give several nebulizer treatments to. We are seeing children with ear infections, cold, fungal infections of the skin, bacterial infections of the skin and well babies that we are only doing a check up on. There’s always a need for children to interface with healthcare workers because we can talk to mothers about breastfeeding, preventative medicine, well baby care, parenting tips…so we love to be in communities talking to parents and children.”


Heading the adult medical component of the clinic is Doctor Arleen Richards, a practicing physician in Fort Lauderdale who specializes in Internal Medicine. Doctor Richards says that diabetes and hypertension were the two prevalent illnesses detected in adults; and that several had to be referred to medical facilities in the city.


Arleen Richards

Dr. Arleen Richards, Physician, Medical Mission

“What I’m seeing which is troubling and which I see in my own practice back in Florida is diabetes and hypertension and what I find in our community, what we call, noncompliance. Is that people don’t understand fully how serious it is to not take their medication, to not take care of themselves, to not exercise. And so part of my practice and what I do, which I’ve been able to do here in Belize is to educate people – empower them to not depend on the doctor or the medicines, but to empower them to make the lifestyle changes that can improve on these conditions. I’ve seen stress-related illnesses so we’ve done quite a bit of counseling, spiritual counseling and some medication support. So those are the main things that I would see back at my practice at home. Muscular skeletal complaints like arthritis and what we know is that those conditions are really related to lifestyle.”


As to the data that’s collected from the clinics, Head of Mission, Erna Cunningham, says that it will be forwarded to the Ministry of Health for follow-ups with the patients.


Erna Cunningham

“One of the requirements of the ministry is that once we are done with the clinic that we can submit to them the data on all the patients that we have seen so that they can follow the patients when we are gone. So what we do is that we have two people, one in each clinic, and as they are seeing the doctor, they collect the data. So when we go back, we scrub it and within a week or so we send the data back to the ministry so they can follow-up with the patients.”


Duane Moody for News Five.

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