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Oct 24, 2017

U.S. Helps Renovate B.D.F. Price Barracks Hospital

Today, the U.S. Embassy handed over a renovated hospital to the Belize Defense Force.  The U.S. Southern Command’s Humanitarian Civic Action funded the rehabilitation of the medical facility at Price Barracks for over half a million Belize dollars.  The hospital will enable the B.D.F. to improve health services offered annually to military and civilian patients in Ladyville and outlying communities.  The project took the U.S. Marines and the B.D.F. Light Engineering Company approximately four months to complete.  News Five’s Duane Moody attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony today and files this report.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

The Belize Defense Force has a new hospital at its Price Barrack compound in Ladyville. For some time now, the medical facility was rundown and in need of rehabilitative works.  Back in 2015, B.D.F. Commander Brigadier General David Jones and then U.S. Ambassador Carlos Moreno paved the way for renovations to be done and in July of this year, a team of thirty-three U.S. Marines, along with the Light Engineering Company of the B.D.F., began the necessary construction to improve the facility.

 

Adrienne Galanek

Adrienne Galanek, Chargé d’Affaires, U.S. Embassy in Belize

“This project is part of our partnership with the government and people of Belize and also most memorably with the B.D.F. here. Our U.S. Marines have been working shoulder to shoulder with the B.D.F. Light Engineering Company to renovate the B.D.F. hospital. This hospital as you know not only serves the military population of Belize, but also the local community. So it is a very important centerpiece of healthcare not only for the B.D.F. forces, but also for the local community. We work as you know in partnership with the government and the people of Belize on economic prosperity, on citizen security and also democracy and governance. And you can’t have any of those things if you don’t have a healthy population.”

 

The project is valued at approximately two hundred and sixty-eight thousand U.S. dollars and it took the team about four months to complete the refurbishments to the hospital. Colonel Michael Samarov explains the new features of the hospital.

 

Michael Samarov

Col. Michael Samarov, Commanding Officer, Special Purpose Marine Taskforce, Southern Command

“It was a significant project taking up the work of thirty-three marines and sailors and between thirty and forty thousand man hours to complete. What you can see on the outside here is a new roof, shutters, paint job inside and outside and some repair to the walls and internal structures and support. What you can’t see is perhaps even as important. There is all new plumbing throughout the building to include hot water and better water pressure and as important and perhaps more complex, a whole new electrical system coming down from two-forty to one-twenty power and making sure that there is power throughout the building for lights, fans and medical equipment.”

 

But even as spent four months on the structure, medical services were not postponed. Tents and a conference room were used to provide a wide range of medical needs. Acting B.D.F. Commander, Colonel Steven Ortega says that the goal is to soon offer orthopedic services.

 

Col. Steven Ortega, Acting Commander, B.D.F.

“We are planning on actually outfitting this portion with an orthopedic section, be it surgery all the way up to full recovery.”

 

Duane Moody

“So when do services come back on board?”

 

Steven Ortega

Col. Seven Ortega

“Well the hospital never did shutdown. They were still operating. If you notice, there is a tent over there; that’s where they were actually seeing patients and then the ones that were bedded down were bedded down inside the hospital conference room. So the ones that were needed were placed there and if they couldn’t, they were accommodated in their barrack rooms. But now the hospital will move back into their portion and we will try to get funding to actually fit out this front portion as an orthopedic center.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

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