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Sep 30, 2021

COVID Chronicles: Mobile Clinics Making a Difference in Rural Communities

With all the focus on the COVID Unit at the KHMH and the ability of district facilities to provide needed care during the pandemic, many of us seldom think about the challenges people in rural areas of Belize may be facing. But because access to healthcare services is a right that all Belizeans are afforded, the Ministry of Health has an outreach program that can make all the difference in many communities. In this week’s episode of COVID Chronicles, News Five’s Duane Moody was in the Belize District to find out what the needs there are and how some villagers are getting vaccinations just steps away from where they live.


Duane Moody, Reporting

For a few years now, the Central Health Region of the Ministry of Health and Wellness has been carrying out mobile clinics in rural Belize District. It is used to support health centers in remote villages with additional medical supplies and human resources which provide those residents with access to healthcare services. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought into sharp focus the importance of these mobile clinics.


Dr. Melissa Diaz-Musa

Dr. Melissa Diaz-Musa, Deputy Regional Health Manager, Central Health Region

“At central region and most of the other districts as well, we do an integrated mobile to the villages and to the surrounding areas that don’t have a regular polyclinic or health center with a doctor in there. And the integrated mobile is made up of the rural health nurse who is stationed at the health facility; a doctor goes on the mobile, pharmacists, a health educator will go majority of times. And we have now incorporated giving COVID vaccines as well ion these mobiles. So the mobile is geared to treating the health needs of these communities as best as possible. It is on a schedule where we go into different communities every four to six weeks depending on how the month falls. And we also as well support these mobiles by having separate COVID vaccine clinics where a team would go in and work along with the rural health nurses to distribute vaccines.”


In the past, Belize District residents would travel to Ladyville or even Belize City if they needed to get tested or to receive their vaccinations. But earlier this year, the mobile clinics began offering these services at the community clinics across these villages. And residents come out in numbers to take advantage.


Raheem Baptist

Raheem Baptist, Resident

“It’s way better because my first dose I had to take it in Ladyville so it is even better that I came right out here to take my second dose.”


Duane Moody

“Your entire family is vaccinated?”


Raheem Baptist

“My entire household is vaccinated. I was the last one to take my last vaccine.”


Duane Moody

“What was your hesitation?”


Raheem Baptist

“It wasn’t really a hesitation. I was just busy with work so that was what happened.”


Kimberly Leslie

Kimberly Leslie, Resident

“This closer to my home rather than have to go – more crowd wah deh dah town anywhere so best I come right yah where it closer. At first I was hesitant in taking it because I have a young baby. My assumption was if I took it, it was going to affect her. Afterwards I said, you know what, best I take it and done; for the sake of my kids and whatever too. To keep them safe.”


For Kimberly Leslie and Raheem Baptist, the mobile clinic made it easier for them to access the COVID-19 vaccine. But vaccinations and testing aside, Doctor Melissa Diaz-Musa says that there are other services that are provided.


Dr. Melissa Diaz-Musa

“We provide both acute for persons who are acutely unwell and we also provide for chronic illnesses as well. So we take medication, the doctor is there to do a full consultation, examination and diagnosis and prescription as well. We also try to do health education with regards to compliance to medication and proper management of diseases like diabetes and hypertension. So persons don’t have to come into the city or Ladyville health center to get refills of medication; we ensure that we take enough.We have community health workers at all these communities and in all the villages and they play a very important role in going out because they are very familiar with the health needs of their villages and they go out and they recruit persons. They do health education, they are able to do blood pressure checks, blood sugar checks and get persons ready so that once the team arrives there, they are able to distribute a large number of vaccines in one day.”


Duane Moody for News Five.

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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