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|San Pedro Daily||Sunday, September 11, 2011
Only losers drop litter...
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San Pedro Polyclinic Update - Great NewsThe following is an exciting update about the expansion of services at the San Pedro Polyclinic and the renaming of the clinic.
As a result of San Pedro BTIA's (SP-BTIA) lobbying and advocacy effort, I am excited to report that the GOB has agreed to commit an additional $200K immediately towards the clinic in order to fund the following:
1) Clinic will be open from 8am to 8pm Monday through Friday. 8am to 12pm on Saturdays.
2) GOB has purchased and will install a new xray machine, ultrasound, EKG machine, and lab equipment.
3) GOB will hire and pay for 11 new staff members, including a lab technician, pharmacy staff, dental assistant, etc. These additional staff members will allow for the expanded hours noted in #1 and will enable the clinic to perform on-site lab testing, xrays, and a number of other services that it currently does not provide.
4) A doctor and nurse on call 24 hours a day at a dedicated phone number.
This expansion will bring the GOB's total expenditure on the San Pedro Polyclinic up from $1 million annually to more than than $1.2 million per year. FYI, in 2010, the clinic served more than 26,000 patients. And that figure is likely under reported, since it does not include community outreach, patients who could not come to the clinic, etc.
In return, we have committed that the private sector will provide $100K per year for two years. SP-BTIA will work with the Lion's Den, SPBA, and Town Council to raise the funds. SP-BTIA will be responsible for organizing the fund raising, collecting and accounting for the funds, disbursing the funds to GOB, providing timely and transparent accounting of the funds, and will hold the GOB accountable for what they have agreed to provide. Details of the fund raising effort will be shared in the coming weeks. For now, I'm happy to report that we have already received a significant financial commitment from a local business group. Rest assured, we will be calling on everyone to contribute.
These private sector funds will be used for a variety of improvements including:
1) Pediatrician and OB/GYN coming from Belize once a week to see patients at the clinic by appointment. We will pay for their salaries and transportation to/from the island.
2) Installation of proper lead shielding to make the x-ray room useable. GOB has acquired the machine. We will pay to outfit the the xray room. This will enable patients to have x-rays done onsite.
3) Acquisition of golf cart. Vehicle will be used for variety of tasks but, most importantly, community outreach, immunizations, public health initiatives, health inspections, etc.
4) Acquisition of additional lab equipment. GOB has purchased the primary lab equipment. We will pay for additional lab equipment that will allow most every basic lab test to be performed on site. Currently, lab work is sent to Belize, where results are available in 3-5 days. Soon, we will be able to have lab results in a matter of hours, not days.
In year 2, we will work with the clinic's board to determine best use of funds, which might include the hiring of more specialists, purchasing additional equipment, etc. The goal is that after 2 years, the GOB will absorb all of these additional costs into their budget.
Finally, in a meeting at the clinic yesterday with the Minister of Health, the CEO of the Ministry of Health, Minister Heredia, Dr. Zuniga, President of the Lion's Club, Baldemar Graniel, and several others, I asked that the clinic be renamed in honor of Dr. Otto. Everyone agreed. So, the clinic will now be known as The Dr. Otto Rodriguez Polyclinic.
A ceremony is planned at the clinic on Friday, October 7 to announce the expanded hours and services. And the new name of the clinic will be unveiled at that time. The new hours should become effective October 10th.
There are many more details that I have omitted here that I would be happy to discuss offline with all of you. I think this represents a significant step forward for our clinic and healthcare on the island. I know that various individuals and organizations have been working tirelessly on this effort for the past few years, so I'm grateful that we had the opportunity to build on their work to accomplish this. That said, the hard work now begins, as alot needs to happen in order to turn these commitments into reality. And our community will have to step up and do our part.
I look forward to working with all of you on all of this.
All figures in Belize Dollars.
Is Belize focused on mere
survival, rather than prosperity?
Letter to theEditor of Amandala
Belize will soon to be thirty. We are at a crucial development stage – equivalent to the first seven years of a child’s life. Whatever foundation we build now replicates itself in the future. Based on Belize Statistical Institute Information, Belize’s unemployment is around 23.1%.
Unemployment is one of the key indicators of a country’s economic health. According to 2010 Article IV Consultation International Monetary Fund, Belize per capita Gross Domestic product on average is significantly less than that of Central America and the Caribbean.
Our murder rate is among the top ten countries in the world, with about 40 per capita being killed in 2010. Our human development index for 2010 ranks low – 80th out of 129 countries.
It is not all doom and gloom, however. These challenges we face are actually opportunities to overcome. It is amazing that a country with so much agricultural land cannot feed itself with basic commodities. Don’t fool yourself - if you are incapable of feeding yourself, you can never be a sovereign nation.
The United States, Europe and China ensure agriculture in their country stays viable through government intervention. The evidence that to develop one must secure the basics and expand to manufacturing is supported by the rise of countries like Brazil and India.
China’s Vice-President, Xi Jinpoing, is expected to arrive in Trinidad for the opening of the third China/Caribbean Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum to be held at the Hyatt Regency (Trinidad) Hotel, Port of Spain, on September 12-13.
Attending the forum will be trade ministers from Barbados, The Bahamas, Cuba, Dominica, Jamaica, Grenada, Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.
Notice that Belize is absent. It is the powerhouse of the Caribbean present. The key to prosperity in the modern world is diversification. Our dependence on the US and Taiwan is short-sighted. It seems to me that we are focused on mere survival, rather than prosperity.
If Belize does not work hard and work towards economic and social prosperity, we will continue to be poor and powerless. Our thirty years of merely trying to survive must now be retooled into empowering our human resources to compete.
Just in ten years our poverty rate has increased by about 10% from 33% in 2000 to 43% in 2010. Whatever we have been doing, is not working to create a better life for the people of Belize. This independence celebrations, 2011, we must understand that the wealth of a nation is determined by its people.
If you keep the majority of a country’s people poor and uneducated, the country will be underdeveloped. It is time to empower the people!
© SAN PEDRO DAILY, PO Box 45, San Pedro Town, Belize.
Inquiries to Editor@SanPedroDaily.Com