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Mar 28, 2003

Intl. docs share expertise with Belize medics

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There’s no denying that health care in Belize has come a long way, but by all accounts, there’s still a ways left to go. As the medical community continues to import the latest in technology and fine tune their professional skills, of vital importance is the sharing of information with their counterparts from the rest of the world. That’s the very objective of a conference held this week in Belize City. News 5′s Jacqueline Woods reports.

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting

The first Continuous Medical Education Conference is designed to update local doctors on the latest technology available; to help better treat their patients and to discuss at length a number of health issues affecting Belizeans.

Dr. Murali Rudraraju, Special Projects, Bz. Medical College

“It is quite coincidental that a child with asthma died two days back. And if you look at the conference paper, we are presenting the asthma guidelines, developed by an expert whom the college brought to Belize, who worked in coordination with the college and the ministry, getting information. And in this conference, he is presenting asthma guidelines for treatment, keeping Belize in point of view. Later on we are also doing the asthma survey. The survey paper is already out, it’s waiting for approval and we will be presenting in the next conference. As you know, this is the beginning of the continuous medical education. These conferences will be held every couple of months or so, depending on the resources and other aspects.”

The two-day meeting is organized by Central America Health Sciences University and the Belize Medical College. Some of the medical problems that will be discussed include pneumonia in children, complications of Type Two diabetes, and acute respiratory distress syndrome. Addressing these ailments are eleven medical professionals from the United Kingdom, United States and Belize. Head of Special Projects at the Belize Medical College, Dr. Murali Rudraraju, says the conference was designed in such a way that the participants would be able to get quick information from the experts themselves instead of having to sit for hours in front of a computer to access that information.

Murali Rudraraju

“In the past it has been through the Internet and through libraries and PAHO was playing a major role down here I believe. They have the national library, which is really, really good, but now things are fast moving and Internet is playing a major role. However, with Internet, as a doctor you always don’t have the time to sit in front of the Internet, search for the material and read it. But if you have someone presenting the material in front of you, then they would all want to come and listen to it and enjoy their lecture.”

Unfortunately the first day of the conference was poorly attended. It is hoped that as the meeting progresses, more participants will attend to benefit from the programme. However, it did prompt the Minister of Health, Jose Coye, to carefully advise medical practitioners to take their commitment to better serve the community seriously.

Jose Coye, Minister of Health

“I would like to see the initiative really come from the private association, that is the B.M.D.A. Government certainly in the health sector reform is taking greater emphasis in the regulatory functions. We find it necessary indeed to look at issues like these maybe to renew licenses or to be re-registered. But I would like to see it come as an initiative by the practitioners themselves, because I think the concern there should be how best to serve the patient.”

Presently the Practitioners Act, which governs medical community, is under review. Minister Coye says it is part of the Health Sector Reform to improve services in the medical field.

Jose Coye

“Component one and two in terms of infrastructural development, and in terms of the managerial changes, will require some improvement in the regulatory functions, in protocols, in procedures, etcetera, to enhance the whole healthcare delivery. So it will become necessary indeed, to review the laws, to give effect to those changes.”

The two-day conference is opened to hospital and general practitioners as well as specialists. Jacqueline Woods for News 5.

The Continuous Medical Education Conference is taking place at the Biltmore Plaza.

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