This afternoon, the Nurses Association of Belize sounded an alarm saying there is lack of material and equipment to deal with an outbreak of COVID-19. NAB says it has concluded a nationwide tour and sent a report to the Deputy Director of Health Services and the Chief Nursing Officer on March twenty-sixth. The list includes six areas that NAB believes should be provided to protect the health personnel. These include things like P.P.E.s for personnel in designated COVID-19 areas and; proper payout of allowances to frontline staff. President of the Association, Darrell Spencer is urging the Ministry to Health to take action.

Darrell Spencer, President, Nurses Association of Belize

“The transportation is almost to a halt. Our nurses and doctors and the entire hospital staff find it difficult to reach to work like all of us have our own means of transportation. We would like the ministry to step up and assist in t his time. If you want us to come to work we are ready to come to work but there are some limits when it comes to transportation. Some persons do not have the facility to isolate we would like the Ministry of Health, we had requested an allowance for all the staff so they can use this money to stay at another place of residents or get a baby sitter or whatever their challenge might be to get them isolated from their family. It is already hard enough that we have to isolate from our family. So we are protecting them in that way but yet we are incurring expenses. We have touched where it comes to the protective gears. Some of them are not good quality. We still have exposure of staff in different areas. We are urging that the staff be completely covered. We sent another email to the ministry requesting urgent audience. So we have a meeting with them tomorrow morning.”

PM to Nurses: “We not only hear you, we will address your difficulties”

Responding to the concerns of the Nurses Association of Belize was Prime Minister Dean Barrow today during live video statement. Barrow says that the Association’s concerns will be addressed including the need for P.P.E.’s, and heavy-duty tents from the Belize Defense Force and elsewhere.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“We do have absolutely a sufficiency of P.P.E.s so no frontline need go without a P.P.E. I saw one other thing where the nurses complain that the areas, I believe they are talking about the K.H.M.H. I don’t know if it is the same throughout the country but concentrated on K.H.M.H. at the moment that there are tents being used and that these tents are not in their views safe enough and they want permanent shelters. Well that will take a while to construct but if as I heard the tents that are currently being used are too flimsy then while we are trying to construct we will get heavy duty tents from the Belize Defense Force and elsewhere. I give you my word that the difficulties you are having Government is not only disposed, we have given instructions via the NOC this morning to the team that is change to ensure that we sort of the difficulties, that we take care of the concerns. We hear you. We not only hear you we will address your difficulties.”

Channel 5