Today, PAHO presented its Final Report of the Health Accounts of the Ministry of Health. Now if that sounds like something you might want to look into to find out about the minister's fuel allowance - really it's not all that sexy, it's a bureaucratic exercise to find out how much of the country's GDP is spent on health in Belize, and also how much is mis-spent. CEO In the Ministry Peter Allen explained:..

Peter Allen, CEO - Ministry of Health
"Healthcare financing doesn't just look at the total amount of money but how we distribute the funds and how equitably the funds are distributed to provide services not only for curative care but also to look at how we promote health, how we promote wellness, what do we do to try to keep our people healthy which is fundamentally the principal objective of our government and of course of the Ministry of Health."

"The national health accounts look at the trend over a period of years and look at as a percentage of the budget and as a percentage of the gross domestic product of the country - how much are we spending on health. Are we spending enough? Are we spending it wisely? Do we need to spend more? Or do we need to re-distribute the way that we are financing our health services and that's precisely what this report gives us - the evidence to suggest that we can make some adjustments. We can do better in the way we invest our resources in the national health system."

"One of the lessons is that the investment in the national health insurance program in the south side of Belize City and in the south of the country appears to have been very effective."

The ministry also presented its six-year National Strategic Plan.

CEO ALLEN also commented on the investigation into wrongdoing at the Southern Regional Hospital. As we have reported, an internal investigation was started a month ago - but it was abruptly stopped when death threats were called into the CEO and two Finance Officers. Allen explained where it's at now with the Auditor General's office going in earlier this week.

Peter Allen, CEO - Ministry of Health
"Recent events caused us to move that from an internal investigation to an external investigation. I am afraid I don't have any formal update apart from to say that the auditor general's team is in Dangriga and they are working."

"What trigger the audit?"

Peter Allen, CEO - Ministry of Health
"The internal audit was triggered by some stuff from the southern regional who I feel to be trustworthy and honest and calling me personally with some concerns and the concerns were not overt but they were enough to suggest that maybe something was happening that wasn't correct and so we ask our finance officers from our accounts department at the Ministry of Health to go down and look what was happening."

"In the end, that's not unusual. We have a budget of a little over 103 million dollars at the Ministry of Health and as you'll see again with the national health accounts we do try to make our investment of those resources as transparent and as accountable as possible."

"The only thing I can tell you at the moment is that information is missing. There seems to be some statements and some cheque stubs missing. That's really all I know as yet, but of course that in itself is worrisome and so that is why we took the immediate step of conducting first an internal audit and then extended it to an external audit."

Channel 7