The new Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at the KHMH was officially opened today. The new unit has 2 sections: the PICU, which can hold over 8 children, and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit which can treat about 23 babies. It is a state of the art facility with rigorous screening protocols for visitors. It's a unit that was desperately needed at the KHMH after a devastating 12 babies died at the old unit in MAY OF 2013 . Today health professionals told us how important this new unit is to the healthy and prolonged life of children.
The project costs $7 million. The Unit will officially be opened to patients in early December.
PICU Officially Launched at the K.H.M.H.
A unit retrofitted with numerous incubators, quarters for doctors and nurses as well as a waiting area for families was inaugurated at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital as its new Pediatric and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. The death of thirteen babies at the hospital two years ago highlighted the need for the unit. News Five’s Duane Moody was on hand for the ceremony.
Duane Moody, Reporting
It’s been two decades since the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital was constructed in Belize City. Since then, there have been many medical services added to the national referral hospital. Following the death of up to thirteen young babies back in 2013, there was an even mor urgent need for an intensive care unit specifically for newborns and premature babies. Well today, at a huge ceremony on Princess Margaret Drive, a spanking new Pediatric and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit was officially handed over the K.H.M.H.
Dr. Adrian Coye, C.E.O., K.H.M.H.
“Here we have one of the biggest investments in our hospital from I don’t know when because it is a game changer; it’s transforming the landscape of healthcare delivery and in a way it will result in a remarkable elevation in the level of care that is to happen here in a facility that is designed for pediatric intensive care patients—twenty-three neonatal intensive care patients—and it is extremely special in the consideration given to the parents.”
Kim Simplis Barrow, Special Envoy for Women and Children
“It soon became very clear that these precious young patients would need an entirely new space designed just for them. A space that was properly equipped so that doctors and nurses would have the tools they needed to provide the best possible care for their children. A space that catered to the needs of parents as they cope with the very stressful reality of having a sick and hospitalized child and of course a space where little patients can feel comfortable and safe so that they can focus on getting well.”
The process, says C.E.O. in the Ministry of Health, Doctor Peter Allen, started back in 2009 when there was serious need to upgrade the existing children’s ward within the confines of the hospital for critically ill newborns.
Dr. Peter Allen, C.E.O., Ministry of Health
“It simply would not have been accomplished without the vision, the drive and the determination of Misses Kim Simplis Barrow. But we started this project back in 2009 with the request from K.H.M.H. for support with a little less than two hundred and fifty dollars to refurbish a little space by Accident and Emergency. I remember Kim had walked through the area and agreed to help. The need was clear, still is clear…back then fifty percent of critically ill neonates did not survive. We have come a long way. Neonatal mortality is down from over fifteen per thousand live births to eight and infant mortality down from twenty-one point one to twelve point three.”
Along with assistance from the Ministry of Health, the K.H.M.H., the Lifeline Foundation, OAK Foundation and many others, the Special Envoy for Women and Children, Kim Simplis Barrow coordinated a seven million dollar project that saw the construction of a new wing, a dedicated pediatric/neonatal intensive care unit, to the hospital.
“The Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital finally has a new pediatric and neonatal intensive care unit. It has taken years of hard work, support from countless people and organization and major fundraising efforts that continued right up to the past few weeks.”
An additional three hundred and fifty thousand dollars from the Social Security Board and eighty-two thousand five hundred dollars from the See and Taste Belize initiative were also handed over to the office of the Special Envoy for Women and Children today.