Wednesday, July 17, 2024

MOHW Minister Hon. Kevin Bernard tours San Pedro Polyclinic; staff kitchen room get appliances

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On Thursday, September 7th, the Minister of Health and Wellness (MOHW), the Honourable Kevin Bernard, visited San Pedro Town and stopped at Dr. Otto Rodriguez San Pedro Polyclinic II to discuss how his ministry can assist the island’s main referral health facility. Area Representative Honourable Andre Perez and San Pedro Lions Club members accompanied the minister during his tour of the facilities. The visit also saw the government representatives donate a stove, gas tank, and television set for the staff kitchen room.
This is the first reported visit by Minister Bernard to the island’s polyclinic since he took over the MOHW In January 2022. Dr. Joshua A. Canul and his staff welcomed Bernard and showed him around the installations of the health center. They showed Bernard areas like the emergency room, the pharmacy, the dentistry section, and other essential areas of the clinic. Bernard was even taken to the roof of the building, where he learned about the building’s safety and needs for repairs. At the end of the tour, Bernard thanked Dr. Canul and his staff and commented on the importance of these visits to learn more about the needs of the medical facilities across the country. He is now aware of the conditions at the San Pedro Polyclinic, including some of the repairs the building needs.
The polyclinic continues to work with limited resources, and for years, it has relied on donations to keep its operations running. Besides challenges with equipment and infrastructure, the lack of supplies has also been an issue. The last time a government minister came to deliver assistance to the health center was in March 2021, when the then MOHW Minister, Honourable Michel Chebat, handed over $14,000 worth of equipment. These included an EKG machine, one suction pump, three infusion pumps, three patient monitors, and one laryngoscope kit. When Bernard took over the ministry at the beginning of 2022, he started a countrywide familiarization tour of the medical facilities. San Pedro is one of the last places he is touring to gather information.
Even though the clinic is under the government’s administration, the building belongs to the San Pedro Lions Club. Hence their presence during the minister’s visit. San Pedro Lions President Nesher Acosta reaffirmed their collaboration with the Government of Belize, particularly with the MOHW and Area Representative Perez. He said they remain committed to continuing their duty to provide essential services to San Pedro, Ambergris Caye residents.

While the polyclinic staff kitchen room now counts a much-needed stove that will be very useful for their 24-hour staff, the medical center still needs more significant assistance to continue tending to the growing island community. The current GOB committed to building a hospital on the island and declared that funds were secured through a $33 million grant from the Government and People of the Republic of China (Taiwan). A Memorandum of Understanding was signed on January 11, 2023, in San Pedro for the upcoming construction of the hospital south of town. Since such signing, there have been little updates on the project, and a ground-breaking date to start the project officially is yet to be announced.

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