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Jan 27, 2017

Dangriga Cancer Center Partners with U.C.L.A. Medical Center

A team of doctors, including Belizean oncologist Dr. Ellsworth Grant, is on a working visit to the Jewel where a partnership with the Dangriga Cancer Center is being undertaken.  The collaborative effort is aimed at treating more cancer patients, as well as educating local doctors on advance treatment methods.  News Five’s Isani Cayetano caught up with the team and has the following story.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Cancer treatment for most Belizeans is either costly or inaccessible.  With the Cancer Center opening its doors to the public in 2008, many have been able to seek the services offered by the facility in Dangriga.


Ellsworth Grant

Dr. Ellsworth Grant, Medical Oncologist

“We opened the center primarily to care for folks with cancer who otherwise did not have access to care and would die of curable cancers.  So our primary mission is really treating people with cancers using chemotherapy, whether it’s intravenous chemotherapy or oral chemotherapy medications.  We don’t do much diagnostic work, we do consultations sometimes for folks who have a difficult disease or diagnosis.  We also have a hematology program and that program primarily now consists of seeing patients with sickle cell disease of which I have some expertise in doing that and the goal is to establish a much larger program over time.”


Partnering with the Dangriga Cancer Center is a team of medical professionals from the Olive View-UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles.  The Chair of Medicine is Dr. Soma Wali.


Soma Wali

Dr. Soma Wali, Chair of Medicine, Olive View-UCLA Medical Center

“The goal of this program is to establish a global health track program for our physicians… I am serving as the Chair of the Department of Medicine at Olive UCLA Medical Center where we do have a residency program with a lot of trainees.  So the goal is to bring the trainees along with attending physicians to Belize to see patients, of course.  And what we like to do is to provide care for chronic disease management but at the same time the other needs of the country based on our assessment is specialty care.”


That alliance should see as many as seventy-five doctors who are completing their residency, joining the program.


Laxmi Suthar

Dr. Laxmi Suthar, Physician Specialist

“As the program director for the UCLA Olive View Internal Medicine Residency, we are very excited to have potentially seventy-five of our residents being able to participate in this program.  The goal will be to have ongoing medical education to physicians, as well as to medical students and residents in training here in Belize and also for our residents to really learn about the patients here, as well as the physicians about the types of illnesses that affect their communities and how you treat these illnesses in a cost conscious manner where you have limited resources.  So we’re very excited about the idea of being able to hold town halls for the patients to talk more about the diseases that may be affecting their families, as well as working with the physicians here to share ideas about what is the best way to treat these illnesses across different nations.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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