Telemedia/Belize Healthcare Partners unveil new mobile unit…

Patients with kidney related conditions must endure a constant struggle, both physically and financially, to maintain their quality of life. Some require dialysis treatment of up to three times a week to survive until they can get a kidney transplant. Aside from the hundreds of dollars per session, the trip to the hospital poses additional difficulties for patients, especially for those from the other districts. Today, a major step was made toward making life easier for dialysis patients in the old capital. Belize Telemedia Limited, along with Belize Healthcare Partners Limited (BHP), unveiled the Telemedia Dialysis and Home Health Unit. A donation of $50,000 from Telemedia went to cover the cost of the vehicle, which B.H.P. transformed into a portable dialysis unit. News Five attended this morning’s ceremony to get the details of the mobile unit.

Dr. Muthugounder Venugopal, C.E.O., Belize Healthcare Partners Ltd.
“Patients that can't be moved in other hospitals who need dialysis, at this time we didn’t have any way of doing that, but now with this generous donation from Telemedia, we can go to say Karl Heusner, Belize Medical Associates, Belmopan Hospital with whatever service is needed. Second, we’re going to start doing formal peritoneal dialysis program. Peritoneal dialysis is done at home, it’s done by the patient and the family so that they can stay home and it’s also less expensive when compared with the haemodialysis. The third function of this will be, we’re going be starting a home health programme. Instead of patients coming to us in situations where they can't for whatever reason, maybe they are disabled or paralyzed or they just are elderly people who have difficulty, then either a nurse and a doctor or just a nurse will be able to make a visit to their home and evaluate what their needs are and hopefully take care of it at home or worse case scenario, they would come to the hospital.”

Dean Boyce, Chairman, Telemedia Executive Committee
“Belize Healthcare Partners asked us originally if we would provide some kind of donation, some sort of contribution and we normally provide services to non-profit organizations. So initially we were a little bit careful but the more we looked into it, the more we realized what a very important project it is for the country and for all of those patients that need dialysis treatment and support. This is not a profit making activity by B.H.P., so we felt fairly comfortable in donating.”

For now, the Telemedia Dialysis and Home Health Unit will only be accessible in Belize City.

…And B.H.P. announces new plans for dialysis

At the ceremony, Dr. Vinny also revealed the Belize Healthcare Partners plans to make dialysis treatment affordable in Belize and explained that in other countries the service is subsidized.

Dr. Muthugounder Venugopal, C.E.O., Belize Healthcare Partners Ltd.
“We are planning to make dialysis as a separate entity from Belize Health Care Partners and we are going to make it a not for profit entity. The reasons for doing this are several. Most common complaint we hear from people about dialysis in Belize is why is our health care or dialysis cost quite a bit higher than say in Guatemala and Mexico. There are several reasons why it is. First of all, ours is a very small market. We got only 20 people that are utilizing our services because of cost restraints. Most of these are subsidized by the Government. So our supplies, equipment; everything we are buying in retail whereas in Mexico and Guatemala, they are buying wholesale. Then of the cost of our services, almost 30-35% of our cost goes towards business tax, taxes on supplies, equipment as well as duty. By going the direction of not for profit, hopefully we can reduce some of this cost and we will be able to provide the service for more people.”

Dr. Vinny says B.H.P. is currently in the process of entering into partnership with a Guatemalan company to offer a package that includes Peritoneal and Haemodialysis as well as education on treating kidney related conditions at a reduced price.

News 5 Online