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The Belmopan Polyclinic was officially inaugurated today. The new structure will serve residents in Belmopan and surrounding communities in the Cayo District. The project was funded through a loan from the Caribbean Development Bank with counterpart funding by the Government of Belize and implemented by the Belize Social Investment Fund. More than just a structure, it is a testament to this government's promise to provide expanded access to quality healthcare in Belize.

The project is a $1.4-million investment that has now equipped the staff of the Western Regional Hospital with better facilities to carry out their duties and provide the people of Belmopan and surrounding communities in the Cayo District with better healthcare services. The project was funded through a loan from the Caribbean Development Bank and counterpart funding by the Government of Belize and implemented by the Belize Social Investment Fund.

Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP
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Belmopan Polyclinic Opened

And in other health news, today saw the inauguration of the Belmopan Polyclinic - a welcome addition to the Western Regional Hospital. This polyclinic will lessen the strain on the hospital, and ensure that residents in Belmopan and nearby villages have access to better healthcare.

And though the clinic has been open for a week, the ceremonial ribbon cutting occurred this morning. Courtney Menzies was there and has this story.

For decades, the capital city has had one hospital to tend to the needs of its residents, as well as those in the surrounding villages, and even in the southern districts.

But today, the Belmopan Polyclinic was inaugurated and not a moment too soon, since according to the area rep, the Garden City has grown significantly over the years.

Oscar Mira, Area Rep, Belmopan
"It's been a while since, as you heard, the facility here at the Belmopan hospital open in 1970, quite a long time ago, and this is one step further in providing adequate services to the people of Belmopan, the surrounding communities, but also the surrounding villages of Belmopan so I think it came at a very good time for us to inaugurate this polyclinic. There's a lot more work to do, we acknowledge that, there's a lot to do in the health sector, but this is one step forward and I'm happy to say that the polyclinic has been in operation over the past week and providing the services needed for the residents of Belmopan. Belmopan population has expanded tremendously and continues to do so and we need to keep up with the services that we provide."

Kevin Bernard, Minister of Health
"We have to find a new facility to provide for the residents, but not only secondary care but tertiary care. Belmopan being high ground, KHMH yes, is the only tertiary hospital in Belize but we know we have to plan for climate resiliency, climate change is upon us, so Belmopan was the only identified area that we feel is the best location to build another tertiary hospital for the country."

But though the doors are open, there's still a major lack in human resources - as in most other hospitals and clinics across the country. But the Minister of Health says they're working on it.

Kevin Bernard, Minister of Health
"The only issue that we are still trying to battle with the is the fact that we need to ensure that people, human resource, is identified and properly staffed, which we'll be putting out ads for doctors, nurses and other specialized areas so we know those are challenges that will come with a new facility, there's great expectations and we want to ensure that with all the equipment commitments that we have to put in this, the dental services, and other services that we want to ensure is provided, it is for us to be able to improve delivery of service to our people."

And that included building and furnishing a structure that could cater to a crowd as well as protect them in the event of a hurricane. And to bring this to fruition, the Ministry partnered with the Social Investment Fund, who also procured the equipment.

Narda Garcia, Board Chair, SIF
"It has an area for outpatient services and a designated area for mental health, dental health, and general practice. It also houses a spacious waiting area, a special are for maternal and healthcare, as well as observation room, triage and a pharmacy."

"Our engineers at SIF along with the technical staff at the Ministry of Health and Wellness ensured that the design of this polyclinic is built of disaster resilient infrastructure so that it can withstand natural disasters like hurricanes. Our engineers also ensured that the entrance of the clinic was built to accommodate beneficiaries that are diversely abled."

Renee Trujillo, Public Relations, SIF
"A lot of the materials were imported and it doesn't also include the infrastructure or the building materials, it also includes equipment, like we have a sterilizing steam machine that's coming in, it includes generator, it include a dental chair, which you would not believe how much a dental chair actually costs, it includes an entire network server system for the hospital. And so when we do buildings like these, when we do infrastructure like these, it does not only include the building but we also try to put budget or money aside to furnish it with equipment and office furniture and that sort of thing."

The total number invested into this new polyclinic was just under 1.4 million dollars.

Channel 7

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