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PSU President Calls out Minister of Health for his Controversial Comments on KHMH’s Medication Shortage

President of the Public Service Union, Dean Flowers says he is upset over the low priority that the Ministry of Health has given the hospitals around the country. Flowers’ statement is in connection with yesterday’s interview where Health Minister, Michel Chebat tried washing his hands from the massive shortage of medical supplies at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. Flowers called into the WUB Morning Show today to vent on this issue.

Dean Flowers, President, PSU: “Since September the shortage of supplies and other services are now hitting Belize City and that’s why people are now speaking up but I can tell you that public officers came to this union in about the ending of August/September from out of Orange Walk to say there was absolutely hardly any pharmaceuticals in Orange Walk so pretty much the people of Orange Walk had been placed through this kind of dilemma since late August early September there was hardly any pharmaceutical, basic pharmaceutical supplies in there so they’ve been coming out of pocket since then.”

Also calling in on the show was a nurse stationed at the Western Regional Hospital who explained that it has been about two months since the facility has been rationing Tylenol and alcohol. Here is how that call went.

Voice of Nurse: “I am a nurse at Western Regional Hospital and I’m presently at home because I’m positive with COVID as well. You could imagine being an employee where you work working for the government as a nurse and nobody tries to help you with anything because I had to buy two of the medications that were prescribed for me I had to buy it because the pharmacy did not have it. Could you imagine simple Tylenol we don’t have at the pharmacy so I had to buy it and I have to buy it because I am positive with COVID, I was having body aches so I want to get better so whatever they told me I have to do and a next medication that they added I had to buy private and just before I came down with COVID for a while we didn’t have alcohol, simple alcohol and when they did get alcohol they were rationing out the alcohol just one gallon. What Mr.Flowers is saying is not a lie but most of us want to be quiet and let everything so that the public think that everything is good. I am a nurse that person who got help that Dean is saying I would have wanted that same treatment indeed because COVID doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor, if you’re educated or uneducated COVID is for everyone but thank God so far I’m recovering with the grace of God. One thing I can say is that the staff from my work they really support me, they check on me and if I need anything they’re always there to give me a hand so thank God for that.”

While Health Minister Chebat has responded to the shortage of supplies at the KHMHA, he made no mention of the public health facilities across the country. Minister Henry Usher, however, has described the situation as unacceptable and that he would be looking into the situation.

Henry Charles Usher, Minister of Public Service, Constitutional Reform and Political Reform: “That’s certainly unacceptable and I can tell you this because we have to have the proper medication in country and it has to be affordable. That’s why this government has said from the very beginning that we need to roll out NHI. We need to have national health insurance in Belize all over the entire country because healthcare is just too expensive. I hear horror stories of persons who go to these private medical clinics and have over a hundred thousand dollars in bills. How can Belizeans afford that in this time especially ? So it’s important that we have good affordable, quality healthcare at our national referral hospital the KHMH, that we have the medicines available. In Tuesday’s Cabinet I asked the Minister of Health because I was reading about a treatment for COVID that was approved in the UK I was asking will we be getting those he said yes the ministry is looking at going through Merk to try to get some of that medication in Belize. So we need the tools ,we need everything available and we certainly have to have the basic medications available.”

Reporter: Will you address that concern ? 

Henry Charles Usher, Minister of Public Service, Constitutional Reform and Political Reform:To the PSU ?”

Reporter: No no no to the government, to Cabinet.

Henry Charles Usher, Minister of Public Service, Constitutional Reform and Political Reform: “Oh certainly I will make sure that it comes up to the Minister of Health. I know it was asked of him yesterday so he did answer and I’m sure he has a team looking at it right now.”