Doctor Marvin Manzanero remains on administrative leave after he was sent home on Tuesday. Reports are that Dr. Manzanero is being accused of alleged misconduct. Sources within the ministry say that he is accused of contributing to the COVID-19 deaths by rejecting BAHA’s offer to assist to ramp up testing. While many in the public domain and certainly on social media have expressed great discontent with the Briceno Administration, the Belize Medical and Dental Association (BMDA) is in full support of Doctor Melissa Diaz as the new Director of Health Services. Executive Member Doctor Atanacio Cobb says that they are satisfied with Dr. Diaz’s performance as the communication channel between the BMDA and the ministry are now open.
Dr.Atanacio Cobb, Executive Member, Belize Medical and Dental Association: “We are actively participating in a lot of the things with the COVID management which in the past we were not involved and so those are things that we were pleased with and we wanted to voice it. Of course it goes along with that Melissa Diaz is in the heading the pandemic and we also believe that she was doing a good job.”
Reporter: In the press release it says that the medical community is now active in the decision making, in the management of COVID and at last it says “it feels our suggestion and concerns fall on listening ears”, is it that there was no communication at all with Dr.Manzanero and his team ?
Dr. Atanacio Cobb, Executive Member, Belize Medical and Dental Association: “Well I think Dr.Manzanero had his own team. I’m sure he had his own advisors and people that were advising him on a daily basis as to how to go about the pandemic but the Medical and Dental Association we were not really participating in the decision processes nor did we have a platform where our voice could be heard as to what was being done. As you recall I had in the past come up where our doctors felt that they were not being listened to, our doctors were reporting they didn’t have enough PPEs, there was not enough training done and if you recall we were saying that before.”
According to Dr. Cobb, the association’s position is not personal against Dr. Manzanero. He says, however, that due process must occur.
Dr.Atanacio Cobb, Executive Member, Belize Medical and Dental Association: “This is nothing personal against Dr.Manzanero, he’s my good friend, I respect him a lot and I think he did work and we don’t know under what circumstances or limitations he worked but we certainly what we see now is clear results. Results that we are satisfied with and I think we can do much better in the longer run.”
Reporter: Just to clarify is it that the problem was with this one person Dr.Manzanero or how the procedures were set up under his watch ?
Dr.Atanacio Cobb, Executive Member, Belize Medical and Dental Association: “Well that’s a good question which I don’t have a clear answer to you because since we were not part of the involving processes we don’t know. As I said I think Dr.Manzanero or the DHS, because it’s really the DHS post, I’m sure he had his own technical team. The position of the Medical and Dental Association is that we want to believe and we hope that the ministry is following procedures and protocols with how Dr.Manzanero or the DHS is being handled. We absolutely do not support any illegal way of doing things, this is something we will say with any government, with any ministry, with any administration.”
Dr. Cobb says that communication between the ministry and the association has been excellent since the elections.