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Feb 14, 2002

O.W. Hospital receives dialysis machine

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For many Belizeans, this next story is literally a matter of life or death. When a person’s two kidneys fail, a dialysis machine must cleanse the blood on a regular basis. Belize has never had such a machine, so every week several dangerously ill patients are forced to travel to either Mexico or Guatemala for treatment. But all that’s about to change, as Orange Walk’s CTV3 reports.

Jimmy Johnson, Reporting

The people of Belize received a generous donation from our friends at Body and Soul Ministries from the First Baptist Church in Morris Town, Tennessee, U.S.A. The donations came in the form of two kidney dialysis machines. Accepting on behalf of the Belizean people was Deputy Prime Minister, the Honourable John Briceño, and on behalf of the medical profession, Dr. Carl Meggs, Chairman of the Medical Council of Belize.

Ralph and Penny Digman of Body and Soul Ministries’ local chapter here in Belize, saw the need for dialysis here, as Don Owens, the trip co-ordinator of this project explains how the decision was arrived to donate such needed equipment.

Don Owens, Body and Soul Ministries

“There were two friends of Ralph and Penny Digman in Roaring Creek or Belmopan that died because there was no dialysis available in the country of Belize. So Mrs. Digman asked us what we could do about it and we didn’t know for sure, but we began to inquire about if there was any equipment available. And it’s simply that God provided it and allowed us to deliver it, and it’s now available to be installed and set up.”

But what makes this a complete gift, is that a technician and a registered nurse were brought along to train the local technicians here in Belize.

Don Owens

“We not only provided the equipment, but we also brought the technicians. We have a gentleman that makes his living operating kidney dialysis equipment and servicing them, installing them, fixing them. And we also brought a lady who’s a nurse, who is a dialysis technician. She works with the patients for the treatment and she’s here in order to train the nurse here and the doctors here in Belize on how the equipment works and how to take care of the patient.”

Honourable Johnny Briceño expressed his gratitude and thanked Body and Soul Ministries for their generous donation towards improving medical services here in Belize. Dr. Meggs thanked our friends and went on to explain that many Belizeans have had to travel abroad, as far as Merida, Mexico or Guatemala City to receive this treatment, and now they will be able to be treated here. Perhaps it was best summoned up by Mr. Down Owens of Body and Soul Ministries who said, “The final accomplishment of this equipment to save lies.

For CTV3, I’m Jimmy Johnson.

Until accommodations can be arranged at the Orange Walk Hospital, the dialysis machine will be housed at the Red Cross building in Orange Walk town. News 5 understands that two other dialysis machines will also be donated to the Loma Luz Hospital in the Cayo District later this year.

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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