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Aug 29, 2022

K.H.M.H. Nurses Protest Against Shortage of Supplies

In Belize City, between forty and fifty nurses who make up the K.H.M.H. Workers Union staged a protest this afternoon. They felt that the shortage of supplies also affects the work that they do and they also had other issues, such as having no pension in place and their salary rates. News Five’s Marion Ali was there and filed the following report.


Marion Ali, Reporting

The afternoon sun did not discourage these nurses from walking out onto the K.H.M.H. parking lot, where K.H.M.H. Workers’ Union President, Nurse Andrew Baird addressed the media. They then walked onto Princess Margaret Drive where they paraded in front of the hospital bearing placards, before returning to their job a few minutes later.


Andrew Baird

Nurse Andrew Baird, President, K.H.M.H. Workers’ Union

“This is not just a fight with the KHMH but rather the Government of Belize to say to them that they need to do better. They need to provide the equipment, the supplies that are needed for us to treat our patients or the users of the hospital. Including medications, there’s a shortage, but generally not just medication but the simple tape that we use to do dressings. If I may just dig deep, this is what we use in the emergency room.”


Baird reached into his pocket and pulled out two types of surgical tape that are used on patients. They are inadequate supplies, he says, that are used for minor dressings.


Andrew Baird

“Even if I want to put a drip as the layman would say, in medical terms – an I.V. on somebody, I need to have proper tape. I know that sometimes there’s a bottleneck between the C.M.S. (Central Medical Stores) Medical and Karl Heusner. We need to fix that bottleneck.”


Fellow nurse, Darwin Slusher explained why Belizean nurses leave to work in developed countries.


Nurse Darwin Slusher, KHMH Workers’ Union

“I come out here every shift, every shift, even on my day off when my boss would call and say “Nurse Slusher we’re short,” we are out here as a team. So only we know what we go through and only we know what we feel. Earlier the media asked a question – nurses are going overseas for better benefits. As a young nurse, there is no upward mobility. What does the government have to offer me to stay here in my country to provide the care that I must provide for my nation? There is none.”


Slusher raised issues with the cost of living as well as the salaries that nurses make.


Darwin Slusher

“Income tax sky high, twenty-five percent. How can you tell me as a healthcare worker, serving the Belizean public that I owe three thousand dollars eena tax? I nuh even mek da money deh. Listen, wi just get pay today. How much ah wi done bruk? I done bruk.”


Baird says that they have no pressing issue with collecting their overtime payments at this time. However, he criticized the government for what he and his colleagues feel is a government that is not putting healthcare as its highest priority.


Andrew Baird

“This government is saying that the economy is at a point where to them it ok so we’re saying now put the money where it’s supposed to be, in the health system. The government spent thirty-six or thirty-eight million U.S. dollars and gave it to Michael Ashcroft. Thirty-eight million dollars U.S. into Karl Heusner could probably give us a new hospital.”


Marion Ali 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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