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Dec 8, 2011

BMDA says problems exist in medical field

Andre Joel Cervantes

Cervantes says that before jumping into medical tourism, there are pressing problems in the field that require urgent attention. The BMDA believes that the exclusion of local doctors in the drafting of the policy, could lead to complications for medical tourism giving Belize a black eye.

Dr. Andre Joel Cervantes

“We understand that they are trying to develop the nation, but we have to be very careful because in a country like ours, apart from legislation lacking which I understand is the reason why a policy is being made, we have a fundamental problem when it comes to the medical practice in Belize and that is proper policing of the way medicine is practiced in Belize. So if we already have a problem on the ground where locally, there are very serious issues that for us we need to address on a local level, by the time you start to bring in foreign expertise, the situation can turn very, very ugly. So we are insistent that we have to be heard, we have to be one of the stakeholders, a very important stakeholder in this type of project.”

Delahnie Bain

“Are there any other concerns related to this medical tourism, apart from the fact that you weren’t consulted on the way that it is being implemented?”

Dr. Andre Joel Cervantes

“We think our consultation will have to be taken into account. We think that the Belizean public at large—like Mr. Singh has said, this will be put together and it’s going to be published for discussion. Do you want to publish something without having some expertise on the ground first? Do you want to be redundant and realize there are a lot of flaws in the system? We think that before you go and publish anything let us sit down because we want Belize to move forward; this is something that we view as a national industry and it shouldn’t just be a benefit for a couple of people. We don’t want Belize to have a black eye because you have foreign medical experts coming to practice medicine and then we start having issues with respect to the practice of medicine so you know, as Belizeans, yes we want to make sure that medical tourism is done in an appropriate fashion.”

According to Cervantes, there are already several foreign investors in the process of setting up shop, including one in Corozal, three in San Pedro and another in Placencia. He feels that the foreign investors are being given a head start while the local doctors are kept in the dark about the developments.

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