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Mar 16, 2023

Sixty Thousand Orange Walk Residents Expected to Benefit from N.H.I. Program

During his 2023 budget presentation on Friday, Prime Minister John Briceño announced that seven million dollars have been earmarked for the expansion of the National Health Insurance program in Orange Walk. It’s a huge announcement for residents of that district, because they will now be afforded the opportunity to access low-cost, quality healthcare services. On Wednesday, we caught up with Doctor Ramon Figueroa, the General Manager of N.H.I. at an event in Belize City where he provided greater insight into how the seven million dollars will be spent.


Ramon Figueroa

Dr. Ramon Figueroa, General Manager, N.H.I.

“The seven million is a projected figure, um, to cover? No, no, I think, I think we can manage with seven million and, and that seven million is an additional to cover the rollout in Orange Walk. And, anybody who works with, with finances and budget knows that when you do projections, you are built in assumption. One assumption obviously is that from day one we are covering a hundred percent of the publication, which probably won’t happen.  But we can’t predict how fast we will register people. So you need to project on a hundred percent coverage. And you’re talking based on SIB estimates, about forty-nine thousand additional persons from Orange Walk. We think it’s higher, by the way.  I am, but that’s the projected figures that we have. We think it’s closer to like sixty thousand, the population in that area. And so those are assumptions that we built in. The other assumption is that we have built in also the cost. Remember, we work on a contract basis and it’s based on how we negotiate prices. But we’ve built in those cost estimates and projections. Inflation, inflation because if we use the figures that we’ve been using in the south side, we haven’t changed the prices in since 2001. Um, so in the projection for orange work, we’ve built in some inflation figures in there. Um, and the other thing that we’ve, we are, we’re trying to do in Orange Rock is we want to set up also, uh, a clinic for the elderly, just like Mercy Clinic. That would be the second one in the country. If you haven’t visited Mercy Clinic, I’ll invite you all to visit it. It’s in the, the facility doesn’t look very impressive, but the service that is being provided to the elderly there is incredible. It’s one of the model services in the whole Caribbean actually. We want to build a similar one in Orange Walk. Now, the cost to provide services for the elder is three times the cost of what it costs to provide normal individuals.”

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