The Ministry of Health (MoH) and the Government of Belize have failed to deliver on its promise to expand opening hours for the Dr Otto Rodriguez San Pedro PolyClinic II. For the past six months, over $700,000 has been put aside to expand the services from 12 to 24 hours a day at the island’s only public health facility. The delay in expanding the open hours has angered island residents, especially since on three different occasions, GOB has failed to meet the deadline they have set.
In justifying the use of Venezuealan’s PetroCaribe funds, on November 18, 2014, Prime Minister of Belize Honorable Dean Barrow indicated that the monies are being used for several projects including expansion of the services at the clinic in San Pedro. Those monies, totaling a little over three-quarters of a million dollars for the first year, were approved by the Ministry of Finance and disbursed to the Ministry of Health. Those monies were approved based on the Ministry of Health’s recommendation.
No one at the Ministry of Health would accept The San Pedro Sun’s request for an interview, but a senior person at the ministry’s Central Health Region indicated that monies have been sitting in the government coffers since September 2014. Local authorities on the island then said that the expansion of services would be up and running by end of October 2014. In early December, Minister of Health Pablo Marin told The San Pedro Sun that the expansion of open hours would take effect no later than December 15th, ahead of the island’s peak tourism season. But it’s been a month since that deadline has passed and for the third time, GOB and the Ministry of Health have failed to meet their deadline. All indications are that the clinic will not be able to expand open hours in January.
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