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Oct 11, 2012

Will Medical Tourism benefit Belizean doctors and institutions?

Joel Cervantes

When the idea of developing medical tourism was first announced, members of the Belize Medical and Dental Association were not onboard because they hadn’t been consulted. There were also concerns that foreign doctors would be the only ones benefitting. But after being included in the planning process, BMDA is now behind the initiative. The association president, Dr. Joel Cervantes, says medical tourism will up the standard of healthcare provided in Belize while Mike Singh, C.E.O. in the Ministry of Trade, Investment, Private Sector Development and Consumer Protection, discussed other benefits for Belizeans.


Dr. Joel Cervantes, President, Belize Medical and Dental Association

“As medical and dental experts, our wish is definitely to be involved. We know as Belizean doctors and dentists, we can’t do all the work, we know we don’t have all the expertise. We know we have some people among our ranks that are very well qualified; we also know that many doctors, many dentists have stayed behind with respect to their growth at a professional level, have not upgraded. What this means, by having medical tourism come to Belize is that across the board the standard of medicine practice here both for locals, for Belizeans and for our foreign guests who are going to come to Belize, it’s going to be better. So definitely the Belize Medical and Dental Association is onboard.”


Michael Singh

Michael Singh, C.E.O., Min. of Trade, Investment, Private Sector Dev. & Consumer Protection

“The vision of the government is to develop an industry that will number one, create job employment opportunities; secondly, will ford us technology transfer to create the kind of knowledge jobs that Belize needs and also improve for Belizeans healthcare that right now is being exported. A lot of our Belizean healthcare recipients actually travel to places like Merida, Guatemala and Miami for medical attention which means that our local medical services does not even a hundred percent satisfy our market. We feel that we can turn that tide around, bring that business back to Belize and also bring additional international medical customers or patients who would either come to Belize physically or can be supported using long distance tools, internet support and also to offer services to companies that may outsource medical services to Belize.”


BMDA has also been working along with the Ministry of Health on a medical bill that will regulate the medical tourism sector. That bill is ready for presentation to the Minster of Health and is expected to go to Cabinet by mid-November. While the details are not yet being released, Ministry of Health C.E.O., Dr. Peter Allen, says that one major point is that to ensure quality, the bill will require all doctors.

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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6 Responses for “Will Medical Tourism benefit Belizean doctors and institutions?”

  1. Storm says:

    The devil is in the details.

    Let these proposed regulations be worked out in the public forum, not behind closed doors where only the devil will know what really happened and why and who benefits.

  2. I Belize it says:

    Most definitely!

    Tourists robbed, shot or killed while visiting the jewel will appreciate these discounts.

    Witnessing a murder and getting good inexpensive cosmetic surgery is what future high paying tourists will demand.

  3. Al says:

    Did I read that there were people in the medical community that was against the medical tourism because those doctors would be the only ones benefitting. According to Dr Cervantes, he knows that some of the doctors are not up on advance medicine and becasue of this the people of Belize are the ones who suffer and die un-necessarily. My grandmother was accumaliting fluid in her lungs, I was in the US, so my doctor called the doctor treating her at the Belize Hospital and was asking if they had her hooked up to remove the fluid, the doctor told him no, she is 83 years old and they just don’t have the capability to do that. My grandmother died, because a doctor saw her as old, therefore not worth saving, and because of incopetence and lack of proper equipment.

    I hope that with this new venture, many lives will be saved and the competition will send these doctors back to sharpen their skills and my people will benefit.

  4. Don Juan says:

    It will affect the Belizean populace as it will cause a brain drain on the already existing medical institutions. Medical Practitioners will want to move to greener pastures for better wages compared to what GOB is presently paying them.

  5. Bear says:

    If the plan is well regulated, it could bring foreign medical experts who in turn will [a] pass some of their knowledge on to our local doctors, and [b] maybe once in a while save a Belizean life.

    If either of those things happen, it could be worthwhile. some countries [India and Thailand, for two] have very thriving “medical tourism,” and while the doctors are mostly foreign, all of the nurses and other attendants are local, so the concept could support very good jobs here.

    But if it is corrupted or mismanaged, then it will be another burden and another black eye for the Jewel.

    Which path will GOB take, competence or corruption?

  6. Naud Brouwer says:

    Medical tourism in Belize??? We do not even have a working X-ray machine down in PG!!!! Tell that to your medical tourists!! Let’s fix the state our hospitals are in first and make sure we can provide proper healthcare to our own people first please!!

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