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A Shortage of Nurses Reported Across the Country

There are many challenges that Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital is facing. This is what Doctor Andre Sosa, Chair of the KHMHA Board told Love News via Zoom. According to Doctor Sosa, one of those challenges is the shortage of nurses and doctors. He explained that the number of nurses that are trained in Belize is not enough to meet the demand. He explains that services continue to be imported.

Dr.Andre Sosa, Chair, KHMH Board: “Belize is not producing or training enough nurses to be able to satisfy the requirements for the whole country. So we’ve had to recruit from abroad. We have a large number of foreign nurses from Nigeria, from Philippines in particular and Central America, Nicaragua is another example and of course we have the nurses from the Cuban brigade. One of the issues that our foreign nurses particularly are facing was that there was an increase of their work permit charges in the last year, it had gone up to $3,000 per year which you know is a large amount of money for these nurses who work and send money back home. I think that a temporary measure was taken and it was decreased to $1,500 per year but that still hangs over their heads and we have been lobbying with people from immigration trying to have them roll this back at least for now during COVID and it’s so very hard to get nurses into our country. We have lost a lot of nurses already and in the next couple months we’ll be losing about twenty one more nurses from the Philippines and others. It can lead to an untenable situation. We need people to man the services and if there’s a disincentive to come to work in Belize or to stay to work in Belize then you know it’s almost like we’re working at cross purposes. So we continue to lobby with those authorities to try and find a solution to this problem.”

He added that one of the key issues is the nursing exams. He says that nurses, who have many years in the profession are not being told that they need to take the exam.

Dr.Andre Sosa, Chair, KHMH Board: “For right now everything we think should be on hold whist the situation normalizes and whilst we are able to recruit more nurses. Bear in mind that all over the world people are scrambling for nurses and Belize with it’s small economy and it’s small acquisition capabilities will be outbid by the likes of the UK, of the US and other rich countries. So I think that’s one of the messages that needs to get out there that we need to work together as a country all associations, all ministries to help Karl Heusner in particular but the health sector in general to win this fight against COVID.”