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Jul 17, 2015

S.S.B. Provides Big Bucks to Aid Children with Cancer

Today, the Social Security Board made a generous donation to the Belize Cancer Society. A handsome cheque of three hundred and seventy thousand dollars was handed over to the organization to financially assist children and women afflicted with cancer. The S.S.B. is partnering with the Ministry of Health and the Cancer Society to undertake this initiative for cancer patients from around the country. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The Social Security Board, in collaboration with the Belize Cancer Society and the Ministry of Health, has established a fund to assist with medical expenses for persons afflicted with cancer.  S.S.B. is making available three hundred and seventy thousand dollars which will be disbursed accordingly, based on a screening process to identify eligible recipients.  This morning, a press conference was held at the Princess Hotel where S.S.B. Chairman Doug Singh, C.E.O. Peter Allen and representatives of the Belize Cancer Society were present to discuss the initiative.

 

Doug Singh

Doug Singh, Chairman, Social Security Board

“Social Security has been assisting in the treatment of cancer for many years now.  There is a fund for which individuals have solicited assistance and we have over time done so on an individual basis.  In addition to that we have also given a grant and a loan to a doctor to study pediatric oncology; we recognized that there was a specific need for that.  We found though, that the individual administration of funds or the administration of funds for assistance to individuals have become somewhat challenging and the board, more recently, has decided to look at really developing a philosophy over these funds which means that we would want to maybe do institutional strengthening and assist institutions to have a better opportunity to deliver the services and to also focus our funds as much as possible towards preventative.  That’s not necessarily the case here but when we met on a request, we met with Mrs. Laura Longsworth, Dr. Ramon Figueroa and Ms. Delone Pascascio, they made a convincing argument.  They presented to the board of social security the need and where that need can be served in a very structured and meaningful way and of course the board of directors felt obliged to assist and we are very pleased to be here as a result of that.”

 

Peter Allen

The monies, according to Dr. Allen, will be doled out through the Belize Cancer Society.

 

Dr. Peter Allen, C.E.O., Ministry of Health

“The finances will be managed through the good offices of Belize’s Cancer Society with different groups, including the Ministry of Health forming part of an oversight committee to help administer the funds and help report back to our partners and our people.”

 

Ellsworth Grant

Dr. Ellsworth Grant, Oncologist, Belize Cancer Center

“It’s very difficult having a child diagnosed with cancer and that tragedy is made even worse when you don’t know where to turn.  Hopefully with this grant and the program we will put in place we will have that opportunity to have this be a better experience for parents, as well as children.”

 

Laura Longsworth

Laura Longsworth, President, Belize Cancer Society

“There’s a committee that will include key persons at this table and Dr. Sanchez and a few others who are clinical people who will look at the diagnostic part of the cancer care, making sure that indeed it is cancer.  That all the investigations and so on have been completed and then they sign off on that.  At the Cancer Society our administrative part makes all the arrangement along with our colleagues, as well as the Belize Cancer Center in Dangriga and of course this will happen with a good referral system.  Usually the referral would come from the pediatrician at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital or from another part of the country.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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