Belize Tourism Board Teams Up with Hospital for KHMH renovation

Belize Tourism Board Teams Up with Hospital for KHMH renovation

The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) is partnering with the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) to help renovate the facility. Today, the BTB and KHMH signed a memorandum of understanding which will see improvements to the Accident and Emergency area of the hospital. The agreement is dubbed a landmark move, as it is the first time in recent years that the tourism sector has invested in the medical sector. Chief Executive Officer of the KHMH Chandra Nisbet-Cansino explained that the Accident and Emergency section was chosen because the unit was heavily impacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chandra Nisbet Cansino, CEO, Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital: “This partnership with the BTB started actually  maybe a little less than a year ago when we were approached by how the Belize Tourism Board or the Ministry of Tourism could support the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital and taking into consideration they have a priority for their visitors as well. And so we came up with the idea to renovate the Accident and Emergency Unit simply because that is the area where all emergencies come and in the event of a mass casualty or any unfortunate event that may involve visitors to Belize we wanted to be able to make sure that we have it upgraded and fit for the use by the public. It’s specifically the accident and emergency unit. What happened is that this is the area that became the COVID unit during the pandemic and so the Accident and Emergency Unit was moved from here to the clinics and this area was the COVID unit so it endured a lot of wear and tear, a lot of beating, a lot of use, you know everything was new and so since then nothing has been done to address the physical look as well as equipment that was used and needs to be replaced. We have identified what needs to be done so we submitted our wishlist as we would call it to the BTB because in these types of partnerships it’s not really only what you want you have to submit justification, your budget, your project, your plan. And so we submitted that and they approved a part of what we submitted so we now need to sit down and prioritize and decide what exactly we will do first and then we would be able to move to you know contractors etc.”

Nisbet-Cansino signed the agreement along with Minister of Tourism, Anthony Mahler; Minister of Health and Wellness, Kevin Bernard; and the Director of the BTB, Evan Tillett. We also spoke with Mahler about the agreement, and he said that the MOU is proof that government is serious about investing in tourism. 

Anthony Mahler, Minister of Tourism and Diaspora Relations: “Well if you are serious about tourism as a destination then you’d know that infrastructure is important and so healthcare is important for the people coming and visiting Belize. It is important for our Belizeans and so this is just another partnership with the Ministry of Health and the hospital. For example we’re completing the polyclinic down in Placencia on the peninsula and so hopefully within the next couple of weeks we can hand over the keys to the Ministry of Health. We’ve donated through diaspora a lot of equipment, a lot of beds, wheelchairs, all sorts of stuff through the diaspora unit and we continue to work with them. This collaboration is with the hospital and that’s because there is desperate need for the emergency room to be upgraded with equipment and even the infrastructure there and so like for example the other day we had that road accident whereby a taxi driver lost his life and we had tourists at the emergency room I think we need to upgrade that’s just one reason but for our own Belizeans as well. When we budget we say we want to look at certain infrastructure so healthcare is one, security is the other one, infrastructure in terms of roads and access roads to sites and attractions ket areas where we believe that tourism needs the support for and so that’s how we decide to do these projects.” 

The BTB has committed six hundred thousand dollars to the KHMH. The timeline for the renovations is still being drafted.

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