Our Community - Dr. Teresa Damera - "Pursuing a Practice in Paradise"

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 12, No. 12            March 28, 2002

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Doctor Teresa Damera

With the recent influx of people relocating to our island from throughout the country and abroad, San Pedro's needs become greater every day. One shortage this caused was an availability of doctors. To ease the minds of residents, earlier this year, two new doctors arrived at the San Pedro Lions Clinic. This week the San Pedro Sun is pleased to feature one of these physicians - Dr. Teresa Damera Basso. 

    On March 8th, 1969, Teresa was born in La Habana, Cuba where she grew up with three older brothers. She attended Getrudes Gomez Elementary School and Juan Manuel Marquez High School. Sports, volleyball in particular, was one of her passions and she excelled in that activity. After secondary school, Teresa enrolled in Manolito Aguiar Junior College. There, as in previous schools, Teresa proved to be a leader and a popular student, which gained her a seat on the student council. It was during this period that Teresa realized she wanted to pursue a career in medicine.

    Teresa began her medical training at the Instituto Superior de Ciencias Medicas de la Habana. There, she completed two years of pre-clinic sciences before moving on to a four-year hospital rotation. This part of her training, practiced at different hospitals in Cuba, combined both the theory and practical aspects of the job. Teresa's dedication to her studies gained her two first place awards in Urology and Integral General Medicine and two-second place awards in Epidemiology and Health Administration. By the end of her six-year training, Teresa ranked second in a class of over one thousand students. After receiving her General Practitioner's license in 1993, Dr. Teresa moved to Carlos J. Finlay Hospital to complete a year of required community service. Dr. Teresa then focused her studies on a specialty - Integral General Medicine (family doctor) by attending seminars and conferences held once or twice a week over a period of three years.  

    Dr. Teresa's next goal was to render her services to another country where medical care was limited. Having applied for a position to practice in another country, Dr. Teresa was given the choice of traveling to Suriname, Niger, Gambia, Belize or Guatemala. In the meantime, the Government of Cuba joined forces with Belize to improve the medical system of this country. After lengthy talks between the two governments, Cuba decided to provide Belize with Cuban doctors as a symbol of their friendly ties. Because of that agreement, Dr. Teresa was offered an opportunity to work in this country, and on July 5th, 1999, she landed in Belize. The young Cuban doctor immediately went to work at a make-shift clinic located at the Civic Center in the Lake Independence area. During her first two years, she also rendered her services to the Sister Cecilia (senior citizen's) Home (and the Good Samaritan Place (homeless shelter). In her new community Dr. Teresa presented educational talks to students of the various Lake Independence schools. As if this were not enough, she additionally offered her services as a relief doctor for Cleopatra White Health Center, the Matron Roberts Health Center, the Queen Square Health Center and the Port Loyola Health Center. In her capacity as a doctor, she also attended many sporting events, including the Copa de Boxeo Maya (Central American boxing match).

    Then, in January of this year, Dr. Teresa moved to "La Isla Bonita" to provide much needed medical service to this community. Since her first day at the San Pedro Lions Clinic her professionalism and dedication has attracted a large amount of people to the clinic. When asked how she likes the island, Dr. Teresa commented, "I love it. I love the sea, the air, the people, and the way of life." She continued, "As a doctor I hope to give the best service to this community. I want to give the patients all the care they require. I hope to gain their trust and want my patients to know that they can count on me, anytime."

    Dr. Teresa Damera Basso is also the mother of nine year-old Ramses. In her spare time, she enjoys exercising and hopes to start playing volleyball again. She would also like to work directly with the island's schools by providing health talks to the students, especially regarding the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

    In the short time that Dr. Teresa Damera Basso has been available at the San Pedro Lions Clinic, she has made the residents of this island feel more secure. Apart from being an excellent health care professional, her friendly disposition is yet another asset that characterizes Dr. Teresa. The San Pedro Sun salutes Dr. Teresa for her commitment and for helping everyone to "feel better" in "Our Community."

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