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Sep 6, 2002

Minister: N.H.I. will spread to northside

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The Prime Minister mentioned it while touring a new medical centre in the West Landivar area of Belize City. And today the Minister of Health confirmed that N.H.I.–at least the benefits side of the health plan–may soon be coming to a clinic near you.

Jose Coye, Min. of Health

“Now we want to take another phase of it to move into the Northside of the Belize District and that is what we are planning to do shortly. And again, it will continue to be met from Social Security funds going into the National Health Insurance Fund until some time down the road, when of course given the economic circumstances and the capacity being in place, we will then seek some additional resources.”

Janelle Chanona

“Do you know yet how much it will cost to keep both programs running at the same time?”

Jose Coye

“We do not know yet the figure for the Northside. This evening we should be putting before the Prime Minister a proposal and we’re still working on the costing. What we are seeking to do is clearly bring to the Northern part of the district, that is the Belize District improvement in that service. It could never come up to the level fully as we would want it, but certainly to meet the GP level, the general practitioner level as the gatekeepers as we call it, and of course some secondary care.”

“The position we had taken as to why is it that at this time why we were not to go to the people to make any contribution into a National Health Insurance fund is one, we need to build the capacity. We are in the process of building capacity in public and private sector. In fact, about the end of this year you will begin to see some visible developments taking place in the forty-eight facilities in the public sector throughout the country, all the national hospitals, the regional hospitals. And we will be rolling this out, up to about twenty million of the I.D.B. and C.D.B. funds, putting in the modern equipment, putting in new information systems et cetera. So that is what we’re going to roll out. Now as we build this capacity, and we feel that yes, the people can begin to feel the recognisable benefits coming from that kind of investment, I think that that would be the more appropriate time and co-incidentally, it is likely too that maybe the economic situation will be more favourable.”

According to officials in the Ministry of Health, the proposed date for the launch of N.H.I. northside has yet to be set, but we understand it could be as early as October.

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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