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May 12, 2020

Shortage of Nurses in Belize – an Ongoing Challenge

One of the pressing challenges facing the healthcare system in Belize is that there is a shortage of nurses. Currently there are eight hundred and ninety eight active nurses, with ninety-five percent female and five percent male. But even with almost nine hundred nurses, according to the world standards there is a still a shortage. And based on trends, that may not change anytime soon – as this is also a global challenge for healthcare systems everywhere.


Eleanor Bennett, Registrar, Nursing & Midwives Council

“Of that five hundred and ninety-eight nurses, there is a decent percent of foreign nurses who also come to our country and work in our health system. So, it is a combination of Belizean nurses; foreign nurses from countries such as the Philippines, United States, Nicaragua and other countries. Is there a shortage of locals showing interest in the nursing profession why we are bringing in nurses from overseas?”


Ann Matute, Acting Deputy Director of Health Services

“Of course. We have a huge shortage. The WHO has said that we need one hundred and five nurses per ten thousand population for us to be working in the health system for us to be working in the health system so that we could give better quality of care to our patients. In Belize, we have twenty three nurses per ten thousand – not even half of the one hundred and five. So, we are very, very short. And what is happening is that our nurses that we have right now are overworked. They become fatigued. You have a lot of the nurses being absent from work because they are tired.”

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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