Unless you’ve been under a rock somewhere, you may know very well that in May 2013, there was a bacterial infection outbreak which occurred in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the KHMH, and which claimed the lives of 12 premature babies.
As we’ve reported, medical experts from the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) did an investigation in what caused the outbreak, and they’ve released their findings.
It shows that KHMH is very deficient in a lot of quality control standards which helps to control such an outbreak from affecting mass amounts of its patients.
Well, it is the first time in the hospital’s history that such an outbreak occurred and there has been a lot of fallout from it.
There has also been a few positive changes, such as the Ministry of Health working overtime to try to implement all the recommendations made by the PAHO report.
Well, another important development is that the Ministry of Health, in collaboration with PAHO and the European Union has launched a new program called, “The Strengthening of Critical Maternal and Neonatal Services in Belize”.
It is a timely program, which will serve to upgrade the maternal and neonatal units at the KHMH, the 3 Regional Hospitals, and the 3 Community Hospitals around the country.
There was a small ceremony held today where the partners announced that approximately 5.6 million Belize Dollars will be made available toward this endeavor.
Here’s how the representative of the European Union explained it:
Jesus Baguena - Representative, European Union
"Today is indeed a very special and important day for us, since we're here with the Ministry of Heath and PAHO to launch what we consider a very important project to support Belize and its population to reach the MDG (Millennium Development Goals) four and five which respectively reduce child mortality and improve maternal health. In the year 2000 the then union pledged to support its partners into reaching 2015 the goal set in the United Nations declaration. The so call Millennium Development Goals and that's why we started the conversations that the previous speaker was referring to with partners how to support and achieving those MDG's. We are not new in working with the Ministry of Health here in Belize and as an illustration we have financed the past construction and equipment of the health center in Bella Vista but we're about to start today with PAHO and the Ministry of Health and it is considerably more complex and far reaching. More than $4.2 million Belizean dollars have been made available by the European Union, therefore, from it's tax payers for this project with additional contribution from the Ministry of Health and PAHO bringing the total amount of the project to $5.6 million Belizean dollars at today's exchange rate. With a duration expanding for just over two the years, the project will improve the quality of and the access to health services and infrastructure for mothers and children under five years old. With the key goal of providing maternal and neonatal mortality, critical maternal and neonatal services in the country will be strengthened with the result with helping the Ministry of Health in reducing still births and neonatal mortality by 1/3 and offer neonatal coverage to at least 95% of the population."
Dr. Peter Allen - CEO Ministry of Health
"This grant of a little under a million Euros and then other contributing sums from various agencies is of course very timely, it is a project that has been in the making for a little over two years as you quite rightly suggest and it is one that the Minister has been extremely supportive of and we are grateful for the continued commitment of the European Union in our Health Care services in general, in our general development in general. This instance particularly to our work in support of achieving the millennium development goal targets particularly for maternal and child health and neonatal morbidity and mortality."
PAHO has also pledged to provide training to medical personnel around the country who work in the different maternal and neonatal units.
Later on in the News, we’ll part 2 of our in-depth look at the PAHO report on the deaths of the neonates.