New Tertiary Hospital Planned in Belmopan Amid Concerns Over Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital
The Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) has been opened since 1995. For almost three decades, it has been the only referral hospital for the country of Belize. With limited space to expand, coupled with the diminishing integrity of its structure, the government has decided to construct a new tertiary level hospital in Belmopan. The announcement has come with some opposition, saying that the 45 million US dollars should be injected into the KHMH instead of a new facility. Prime Minister John Briceno has commented on the matter, saying that the building is beyond repair, and there has to be a backup plan in the healthcare system. Today, Minister of Health and Wellness, Kevin Bernard, commented on the situation, saying that while the previous administration invested in roads, healthcare for Belizeans is much more important.
Kevin Bernard, Minister of Health and Wellness: “What will this proposed $90 million hospital do, tertiary and secondary care hospital do for the people? Now as I said what it will provide for Belmopan and for the west is that secondary care which is so badly needed to improve. As I said western regional has really served its time, the facility is condemned. We need to make the right investment. Investing in health is critical and this is why we support the need for us to build that hospital. Now we need to have vision not just for five years or ten years but we need to look down the road and so while it will provide a secondary care for the people of Belmopan it will provide some level of tertiary services for the immediate which is ICU so we want to have the intensive care unit set up there and then long term it will then be a full-fledged fully tertiary hospital with secondary care for the people in the surrounding area.”
One of the selling points in the construction of the new hospital in Belize is the plan to have the facility serve as a teaching hospital in collaboration with the University of Belize. Minister Bernard went further to say that the construction of this new hospital is not a new development as the Briceno administration had present it as part of their manifesto prior to the 2020 elections.
Kevin Bernard, Minister of Health and Wellness: “It’s an investment that is worthwhile, it will be bringing great benefit and let me also say this it will serve as a teaching hospital for the population. We’ve talked about the human resource gaps that we have existing now some people might say well KHMH does train their nurses and so we are looking further than that. We are looking at how are we going to build our specialization capacity in country. We have to think big you know. We cannot continue thinking just to so. We have to ensure that the University of Belize will also link into the medical side of it will link with a certified institution. These things take process, it takes proper planning but we must have the vision of where we want to grow as a country improving the health of this country. Plan Belize highlighted clearly that we will have built a new personally hospital in Belmopan. We are going to be putting all our efforts to ensure that we have the necessary doctor to patient ratio, the nurse to patient ratio but we have to do it in a planned approach and so while there may be issues currently we are also working right now at the ministry and seeing how we can fill some of those gaps that exist within the health system.”
The funding for the new hospital is coming from the Saudi Development Fund.