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Oct 28, 1999

Belizean doctors discuss ways to improve

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Belizean doctors have often complained about the lack of up to date resources in the medical field which makes it difficult for them to treat their patients properly or any at all. In an effort to stay abreast of the latest improvements of their colleagues abroad, medical practitioners have been meeting on a yearly basis to exchange ideas and discuss ways they can improve the service they provide to their patients. The National Congress of Medicine opened today at the Radisson Fort George Hotel and News Five was there for the discussions.

For the seventeenth year, Belizean doctors have gathered to learn about the latest developments in the medical field. This year the annual meeting, conducted by the Belize Medical and Dental Association, focuses on the leading causes of death in Belize.

Dr. Giovanni Solorzano, Coordinator, Natl. Congress of Medicine

“We have cancer of the cervix as one of the problems affecting the women of Belize. So we decided to give a talk on cancer of the cervix.

The same thing, we know that we have a lot of patients with upper respiratory infection. For that reason we decided to choose a topic related to upper respiratory infections. As a matter of fact we have a lecturer from Jamaica giving a talk on the protocol and management of asthma.”

But there are a number of medical emergencies which cannot be treated in Belize.

Dr. Giovanni Solorzano

“We have to be honest, we are not well equipped yet; we have a long way yet to go. The infrastructure, the building is probably there. The doctors are here but still we need to get more equipment; we need to get more infrastructure so we can be ready for emergencies.

To give you an example we have an emergency room but still we do not have an intensive care unit which is controversial because we can treat an emergency but where will you put the patient who has the emergency? We need to put that patient in an intensive care unit which we do not have at the moment.”

Dr. Stanley Hoy, Executive Member, B.M.D.A.

“And the important thing is to know when to refer abroad. We are also teaching our doctors that some of those services and technologies are available in Belize and when they need to send because they do not need to send abroad for every little thing.”

Although there are only one hundred doctors attending the congress, all medical practitioners are kept informed of discussions at the meeting.

Dr. Stanley Hoy

“A large number of doctors can’t attend because they are in the districts and they have to be running the hospitals or their clinics but the information does filter down to them because we do send them an outline of the whole congress.”

Another major topic being discussed is the need for a National Health Insurance Plan. Solorzano says they are being pressured by international agencies to make certain decisions in relation to the Management of Health Care in Belize.

Dr. Giovanni Solorzano

“The Belize Medical and Dental Association is ready for a challenge to sit down and to advise the Ministry of Health on what are the important decisions that should take place in the Ministry of Health.”

However, in his opening address, Prime Minister Said Musa says the insurance plan will be established.

Said Musa, Prime Minister

“Between ten to twelve million U.S. dollars are paid out by Belizeans and government through various programs to access medical abroad. By channeling these resources through a National Health Insurance System we will be able to pool our risk, increase the quality of care in the local hospitals and retain foreign exchange.

In addition to reassuring expanded access to medical attention, a properly managed health insurance scheme will provide an incentive for both public and private health providers to improve the efficiency of the health industry. Many details need to be hammered out before legislation is tabled to introduce the national health insurance scheme but the momentum has begun.”

The three-day National Congress of Medicine comes to a close on Saturday October thirtieth.

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