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Mar 12, 2020

Cuban Doctors to Help Belize with Fighting COVID-19

Marvin Manzanero

The Ministry of Health is propping up its equipment as it prepares for COVID 19. The Ministry in the process of procuring six new ventilators to add to its existing numbers across the country.  While those machines are expected to arrive from the United States within a week, sourcing and purchasing another six will have to be done elsewhere.  In respect of trained personnel to administer the ventilators, Minister of Health Pablo Marin has been in contact with Cuban Ambassador Lissette Perez to secure a team of Cuban doctors who are trained in the use of ventilators.


Dr. Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services

“They have installed one ventilator already, they have done the connections and they have four ventilators in that unit.  They have six in their routine ICU.  We are in terms of getting an initial procurement of six, but we have gotten a budget for another six.  So there are twelve ventilators more than the ten that Karl Heusner [Memorial Hospital] already has.”



“Is it hard to source right now, would you concede?  It‘s not something you can buy on Amazon.”


Dr. Marvin Manzanero

“I think we have gotten the assurance that the six that we had already started the process of can get here in one week.  So the other six we‘ll have to source outside of the U.S.  Not all the ventilators would go to Karl Heusner, you also will know that routinely we don‘t ventilate patients at the regional hospitals.  What I think we have decided as a team and in tandem with the Karl Heusner is that this is the opportunity to now set up ventilators at the regional hospitals: Belmopan, Dangriga and Orange Walk.  Depends on the school where you came from, we had a discussion this morning, for example, I trained in Mexico.  Depends on the school, as an internist you should be able to handle ventilators.  If not, you‘re going to have to come for training at the Karl Heusner and we would have the commitment in that regard.”


Pablo Marin, Minister of Health

“Just to follow up that, this morning I had a meeting with the ambassador from Cuba and we‘re looking at all the specialists that are in country and by this evening she should be giving us exactly which doctors can do and help us in this case.”

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