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Aug 30, 2022

Nurses Southern Regional Hospital Voice Their Concerns to the Minister of Health

On Monday, Minister of Health and Wellness, Kevin Bernard, made a commitment to visit the nurses at the Southern Regional Hospital in the wake of a demonstration that began with a walkout on Saturday.Today, Minister Bernard kept his word. Nurses at the Southern Regional Hospital were the first to stage a protest over the weekend, which subsequently sparked similar protests across the country, outside of other public health facilities on Monday. Minister Bernard had noted that most of the issues the nurses at the hospital protested against were of an administrative nature. He saw it fit to give them an audience, for them to properly ventilate their concerns. That meeting began inside the hospital at ten a.m. and lasted for over three hours. News Five’s Paul Lopez was there and filed the following report.


Paul Lopez, Reporting


Bessie Maradiaga

Bessie Maradiaga ,Registered Midwife, S.R.H.

“I was very pleased that the ministers took out of their very busy time to come and listen to us. The nurses are very pleased at the moment. We felt like we got cross the message that we want delivered.”


Minister of Health Kevin Bernard spent three hours listening to the concerns of the nurses at the Southern Regional Hospital. When Bernard and his colleagues, Dr. Louis Zabaneh, Area Representative for Dangriga, and Rodwell Ferguson, Area Representative for Stann Creek West, emerged from inside the hospital, the Minister of Health had this to say.


Kevin Bernard

Kevin Bernard, Minister of Health and Wellness

“As I mentioned to them I am here to listen. We are here to find solutions to the problem and set out timelines when we could address their concerns. I think that the staff was very genuine. They were open and frank of many of the things that they feel needs to be addressed. Many of these things of course, some of them administratively, and other infrastructure problems that we have to address and I gave them the assurance that we are going to work on these things.”


On Saturday, nurses at the hospital spoke out against the alleged ill-treatment that they were experiencing at the hands of their administrative supervisor. This was one of the issues raised in today’s meeting.


Bessie Maradiaga

“Some of the issues that we have identified and the ministers have identified is that most of our issues were internal. So, they have heard our complaints. We have written our petition against some people in administration and we have requested new supervisor. So, we made our petition and they will look at new personnel to come and take over or whatever they need to do.”


Paul Lopez

“How do you take to the complaints they made so vexingly against their administrative supervisor?”


Kevin Bernard

“As I said to them, if that decision has to be made, then we will make that decision. If we have to make that change then we will make that change, in order to improve the condition, the working environment. At the end of the day, no one is indispensible. We need to make sure that in every work environment, in every work place, if there is somebody that is creating more havoc for you, then that person has to go.”


But administrative issues aren’t the only challenges the Southern Regional Hospital is faced with. As Dr. Louis Zabaneh pointed out, the hospital is in great need of infrastructural upgrades.


Louis Zabaneh

Louis Zabaneh, Area Representative, Dangriga

“We need to have the necessary investments to improve the facilities. This started way back even before elections in my experience here, before we had the issue with the morgue. And we finally got that matter semi addressed. It is still not properly addressed. So I am very grateful that Minister Bernard has come personally. If you were to take a tour inside here, you would see that we are probably one of the neediest institutions in the country.”


Paul Lopez

“What makes you say that?”

Louis Zabaneh

“We have taken tours in there and you will see that many of the air conditioning units are not working. The rooms need to be upgraded, etc. So, these are things now we are addressing.”


The protest that sparked a national movement on Monday, which led to several resolutions and today’s visit, began here at the Southern Regional Hospital. The nurses at the Southern Regional Hospital say the message they sent on Saturday was clear.


Bessie Maradiaga

“We sent a clear message and we had tremendous support from nurses across the country. I had unions calling me and saying yes we will stand with you guys. We are in full support, because this problem is not only country wide. Nurses across the country are tired. We don’t have supply, resources, we don’t have staff.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Paul Lopez

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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