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Jun 7, 1999

KHMH doctor says donation useless

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On Friday the government press office announced one hundred and fifty thousand US dollars worth of medical supplies was being donated to the Karl Heusner Memorial from a company identified as the Belize Investment Company, BID. Nando Nandwani of BID was quoted as saying this is the second container of medical equipment they have procured for the Ministry of Health and that two more will follow. The Minister of Health Servulo Baeza expressed his appreciation for the donation and was on hand on Friday to receive the gift. But according to the Chief of Staff at the KHMH what sounds like a generous donation of supplies is really a scam and it is time the Ministry of Health stops accepting equipment and supplies sight unseen.

Arreini Palacio, Reporting

“When the container was opened on Saturday, the staff of Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital was in for a surprise. According to Chief of Staff Francis Smith, the donation, was not what it was made out to be.”

Dr. Francis Smith, Chief of Staff, KHMH

“To the inexperienced eye they might look in the container and they might think it is very valuable, it looks costly but there are pieces of equipment that cannot be used for anything?

Arreini Palacio

“The presentation, one of four to be donated by the Belize Investment Development Company, consists of medical equipment, supplies and medication. But Dr. Smith says most of the medicine has passed its expiration dates and the equipment is unusable. He says there is no way the “donation” is worth the money BID says it is.”

Dr. Smith

“Certainly not three hundred thousand dollars worth of hospital supplies that were alleged, I thought that the values could have been five to ten thousand Belize dollars?it is reasonable to say that the drugs, although some of it is expired some of it might be useful and what my point is that it did not cost them anything probably some of the stuff was donated by someone else and these people are saying what they are donating is 3 hundred thousand dollars and that is a lie, that is a farce.”

Arreini Palacio

“In fact, Dr. Smith says the KHMH is often used as a “dumping ground” for expired or useless medical supplies and he wants the Minister to stop accepting items that have no real value to the people of Belize. Arreini Palacio for News Five.”

Today Minister of Health Servulo Baeza, told News Five the BID donation came through the Ministry of National Security and he merely accepted the gift on Friday. He said normally a list is provided of all supplies that will be given to the hospital or the Ministry and this list would include expiry dates for all medication. He says in this case, however, no list was received. Nando Nandwani of Belize Investment Development Company could not be reached for comment.

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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