Caye Caulker without a doctor for months

One of the prime tourism islands has been without a doctor, in some instances for months, and the access to timely healthcare on Caye Caulker has become an issue for residents. The problem, we are told, is a perennial one, where the facility has been short of a physician at times for up to eight weeks.  While the absence inconveniences a majority of those who cannot afford private healthcare, residents of the island are relatively mum about the issue.  This afternoon, News Five spoke by phone with Ruby Rosado whose experience over the Easter weekend got ugly when she could not receive immediate medical attention.

Via Phone: Ruby Rosado, Caye Caulker Resident

“Well from since last week Wednesday we have no doctor.  This has been going on for quite some time now, this is not the first time that we are without a doctor.  The whole Easter holiday there was no doctor available.  Only in a case of emergency could you look for the doctor.”

Isani Cayetano

“How were you guys able to manage?  Do you know of anyone who may have fallen ill or needed medical attention and had to either find another way how to get that service?”

Via Phone: Ruby Rosado

“I was one.  During the Easter holiday I went to the clinic and there was [no one].  I had to knock like four, five times to see the doctor.  It was like around one o’clock in the night and we had to pay for those services because the doctor wasn’t working all during the Easter holiday.  Only, like I said, for that case of emergency the clinic was not open and then my brother also, last week, he wanted the services from the clinic and there was no doctor.  The nurses said that they cannot give any injections, only the doctor can do that.  I mean if somebody falls ill right [now] how would we be able to deal with that?”

Isani Cayetano

“Have you guys made an official complaint or have you guys voiced your concern to the relevant authorities, in this case I believe it would be the Ministry of Health?”

Via Phone: Ruby Rosado

“We have never done that.  We have never done that.”

Isani Cayetano

“Is it an option that you guys are prepared to explore, given the fact that you, at some point, will need medical service on the island?”

Via Phone: Ruby Rosado

“Well we have thought about it and apparently we have the village council and I haven’t spoken to anyone of them yet to find out if they would go to the CEO of the Ministry of Health or if they have contacted any medical authorities as such to find out what is happening, you know.  We haven’t done that.”

Isani Cayetano

“Is there any appeal you would like to make to anyone in authority to see how best this issue can be addressed for residents of Caye Caulker?”

Via Phone: Ruby Rosado

“Yes.  I would really, really appreciate if the Ministry of Health could look into this as quick as possible because we have pregnant women out here, we have asthmatics out here, we have diabetics out here, we have sick babies out here.  I mean this is ridiculous to for the clinic not to have a doctor.”

News Five attempted to get a comment from the Ministry of Health but our calls went unanswered.

Channel 5