|Dr. Jose Victor Perera
Doctors and other health workers play an important role throughout the world and in this community. Their dedication to aid the sick and the long hours they work are admirable. It is with this in mind that we feature one of San Pedro's health professionals - Dr. Jose Victor Perera.
Jose Victor was the third child born to a young couple in Benque Viejo del Carmen in the Cayo District of Belize. Unfortunately, when he was only three years old, his parents separated. He and his two sisters were adopted by a Honduran nurse, DoŇa Lola, who became their foster mother. Because of her profession, Jose Victor traveled to places like Honduras, Mexico and Guatemala, eventually settling in Ladyville, Belize. This is where he spent his early elementary years before moving to St. Ignatius Primary School in Belize City from where he graduated. Throughout this time, Jose Victor maintained a relationship with his father by occasionally traveling to Benque Viejo to visit.
Jose then enrolled at St. John's College, which he calls his real Alma Mater, graduating with honors in 1985. The four years he spent there, he says, were crucial as they prepared him for further studies. Because of his self discipline and high grades, he received good recommendations from the headmaster and a scholarship to Junior College. Then, an opportunity arose to study medicine at the University of San Carlos in Guatemala City. Jose had developed an interest in the medical profession and when his father offered to assist him financially, he decided to pursue a career being a doctor. Before leaving for Guatemala, he spent six months working with his father at his mechanic shop in Benque Viejo.
In February of 1986, he commenced studies at the University of San Carlos. Jose Victor says life at the university was not easy at first, but adversity and hard times always motivated him to try harder. DoŇa Lola, his foster mother, also moved to Guatemala which gave him encouragement and support. "This made things much easier and her great home-cooking was a bonus," commented Dr. Perera. It was there that he met Dr. Daniel Gonzalez of San Pedro who was also starting his schooling. They became good friends and eventually roommates. Six years later, in 1992, Jose's hard work, commitment and determination paid off, when he graduated as a General Practitioner.
Dr. Jose Perera then returned to Belize City to reestablish himself with his friends. That same year, he started working in the Emergency Room of the old Belize City Hospital. He consequently moved to the accident/emergency department at Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital and occasionally worked in pediatrics, obstetrics and surgery as well. Eventually, Dr. Perera started a private practice of his own, occasionally worked at the Belize Medical Association and was also a Government physician until 1998.
It was then that Dr. Perera moved to San Pedro, at the invitation of former roommate Dr. Daniel Gonzalez who had completed his studies in Guatemala and opened a private practice. At first he was hesitant because he had recently built his own home in Hattieville and his wife was not ready to relocate. After much discussion, his wife Minette, son Aldeb and DoŇa Lola decided to join him. Dr. Perera described himself as "in limbo" when he first moved to San Pedro, since he only knew Dr. Gonzalez and his family. He built a small house on Dr. Gonzalez's lot and rented a place for DoŇa Lola. The settling-in period for the Pereras was rough but, soon after, he managed to acquire a piece of land and moved his home from Hattieville to San Pedro. During this time Mrs. Perera also gave birth to another son, Aidon, and most recently a newborn daughter Fatima Floraida.
Today, after living in San Pedro for the past two years, he says life has changed. He has a good working relationship with the people of San Pedro and is very satisfied with his practice. He is a medical practitioner who tries to enhance his medical knowledge daily by getting the latest books, information and medication to better aid his patients. When speaking of the health issues in Belize, Dr. Perera said, "I believe that in Belize we need to raise our health care to a higher level, move away from cost-cutting medicine and give health priority. We need to realize the importance of spending more on keeping our people healthy, at the same time alleviating unnecessary losses from work days lost due to sickness."
Dr. Perera believes in an "evidence-based practice" using proven methods of treatment, as opposed to more "empirical" (experimental or based on observation) medicine. For these reasons and many others, including his dedication and desire to provide the best care for his patients, he is a welcomed General Practitioner in "Our Community."