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Oct 27, 2006

Doctors and Dentists meet for annual conference

Story PictureThey are among the busiest professionals in the country but for two days, doctors and nurses from across the nation are in the old capital as part of the twenty-fourth Belize Medical and Dental Association Congress. News Five’s Jacqueline Godwin reports on this year’s talking points.

Jacqueline Godwin, Reporting
Every year physicians and dentists meet to share the latest information on medical technology to better serve patients. This week, at twenty fourth Belize Medical and Dental Association Congress, discussions ranged from heart conditions to plastic surgeries and sleep disorders…..that?s right, it seems a number of Belizeans are physically suffering because they are unable to get a good night?s rest.

Dr. John Sosa, Neurologist
?Around eighty percent of the people who come to see me right have some sort of sleep problem. Well I asked them about it. They don?t really come for that, sometimes they come for something else. So a lot of people have sleep problems.?

Jacqueline Godwin
?And why is it that people are not sleeping??

Dr. John Sosa
?We want too many things in life. We want maybe too much money, we want another house, a good vehicle so we work longer hours, we live farther away from home sometimes and so we put in too much activity in the daytime extending it in the night. We have to get up early in the mornings, we have kids at home, we have a school we go to in the evenings if we want to finish school and all of that cuts down on your sleep time.?

Many people treat insomnia by taking a variety of sleep aids but as Neurologist Dr. John Sosa reminded his colleagues today, the side effects of the practice is addiction. Sosa says on average, instead of handing out prescriptions, he recommends a more therapeutic approach to the problem.

Dr. John Sosa
?People in Belize like to buy Valium, Diazepam that is an addictive medication. In the long term it affects their sleep more than it helps them. So we try to give them behavioural practices, changing their environment that they can have things they do to help them sleep and not depend on medication unless they really need it. And if they need one, we give them non addictive so they do not have a problem.?

In terms of advanced treatment for life threatening conditions, one presentation highlighted the fact that for the first time in Belize, a patient doesn?t have to go under the knife to remove a gall stone.

Dr. Irvin Gabourel, Gastroenterologist
?We still have people being referred abroad because obviously they do not know that we have the service. But I want to tell everyone in Belize especially the doctors that we no longer need to send our patients abroad we offer this service. Our results speaks for themselves, I mean we do not have any major complications.?

Since 2003, Gastroenterologist Dr. Irvin Gabourel has been performing the procedure called Endoscopic Retrograde Colongio Pancreatography or E.R.C.P. According to Gabourel, so far twenty-seven patients have benefited from the technology.

Dr. Irvin Gabourel
?We go into the mouth, stomach and end up in third portion of the small boil where you have, if I may call it, the drainage pipe of the liver and the pancreas. People who have had stones in the gall bladder who are unfortunate to have one of these stones migrate or move into this drainage system get their pipes clogged up okay? I am talking in layman terms and the clogging of that pipe by a stone makes the patient very ill.?

According to B.M.D.A.?s president Doctor Martha Habet, with support from the Ministry of Health, the organization is also planning to revised the Medical and Dental Act. Changes would require the professionals to participate in a continued medical education programme.

Dr. Martha Habet, President, B.M.D.A.
?Because it benefits the patients if the doctor is well trained, well informed about what is happening not just remember what is happening when you graduated from a school of medicine but what is happening now.?

Recently, the B.M.D.A. suffered a major blow after a founding member, Dr. Miguel Rosado, Sr. died following a traffic accident. Dr. Rosado was the leading kidney specialist
in the country and established the first and only dialysis treatment in Belize.

Dr. Martha Habet
?Right now we are in a situation where we do not know what really is going to happen with this programme. The medical professions feel really a big gap that he left in all of us. Not only because he was a good physician, very caring for the patients but because he was a very dear friend to all of us.?

The twenty-fourth B.M.D.A. Congress, with the participation of seventy five health professionals from across the country, concludes on Saturday.

Jacqueline Godwin reporting for News Five.

The Belize Medical and Dental Association Congress 2006 is taking place under the theme: Information and Knowledge in pursuit of Excellence in Health.

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