Health Minister Responds to Backlash Over X-Ray Machine Approval: Clarifies Government’s Decision
The Minister of Health has responded to criticisms surrounding the Cabinet’s publication of its approval for the purchase of three X-ray machines. In its latest Cabinet release, the government announced the approval to replace nonfunctional machines at the Northern and Southern Regional hospitals, as well as at the San Ignacio Community Hospital. Persons in the public domain have since knocked the move, saying the government is looking for praises for just doing their jobs. Today, Health Minister Kevin Bernard responded to the criticism and why he feels the release was misinterpreted.
Kevin Bernard, Minister of Health and Wellness: “At the end of the day we are committed to ensure we constantly look at upgrading the equipment at the hospital. Now what has happened is that these three facilities have an x ray machine but they are not functioning. These are machines that were donated to the ministry before. We are unable to get the technical support, the parts and all these things but we cannot allow that these services, this basic x-ray services are not afforded to those Belizeans who visit the Northern Regional Hospital, the San Ignacio Community Hospital or the Southern Regional Hospital where there is high demand. And so I felt as the minister that it is a matter of urgency that we get these and access these machines because it’s critical services that we have to offer, basic service that people go to the hospital to get. And so for the opposition to criticize something like that it makes you wonder why would they even want to criticize an initiative that government has agreed to purchase and we have to take these things to Cabinet because at the end of the day Cabinet has to approve the acquisition of these things. It comes at a cost and so we will do things by the book, we will do things right. And so I took the paper to Cabinet, it was agreed and supported and we’re now in the process of making sure it’s put out to tender so that we can get these things urgently and installed and they’re going to be good brands that we are going to be placing at these facilities so that it can compensate with the Fuji brand that is also being placed at KHMH for the CT Scan. So we are looking at improving diagnostics, improving testing, improving laboratories across the country because we’re all about ensuring that they improve quality care.”
Minister Bernard also provided an update on the replacement of the CT-Scan machine at the KHMH and says it is now in the country.
Kevin Bernard, Minister of Health and Wellness: “The Fuji people are here in country as well and I understand that installation should commence within the next week or so. So we should see that CT Scan ready up and running within a month. That’s the plan, that’s the timeline and so while they were here we even had asked them to go and do an inspection of all the other three facilities for us so that they could tell us what recommendation, what specification, if we need to expand on the electrical source because I believe that was one of the challenges that was at the Northern Regional Hospital the electrical source was not sufficient enough and so it may have blown out some parts of that machine that was there. So we are doing these things but we want to ensure we do things right so that we don’t have to go back and do the same thing five years, ten years down the road.”
The x-ray machines are expected to arrive in the coming months.