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November 30
10:00 2018
THE REPORTER: News Staff, - 

Area Representative for Cayo South, Julius Espat is calling on the Government of Belize to urgently conduct an assessment of the healthcare needs of the Cayo district.

Espat rose at the last meeting of the House of Representatives to speak on a matter of public importance to note that there are 13 villages, home to an approximate 20,000 residents whose healthcare needs are underserved. Espat said that based on data presented by the World Health Organization, there should be at least 7 healthcare professionals (doctors, nurses, midwives) to serve the residents of Cayo South; however, in actuality, there are several villages that do not have any such professional.

Instead of healthcare professionals these villages, such as Armenia, Teakettle, St. Matthew’s, Frank’s Eddie and Cotton Tree, have community health workers who are volunteer personnel only trained enough to offer very basic healthcare to villagers.

‘In reality…the government gives them a stipend of $100 a month…I understand they are categorized as volunteers but what can you expect of healthcare workers that get a stipend of a $100 a month?” Espat said.
He noted that community health workers are also faced with various challenges such as minimal access to medicine, lack of basic medical equipment, minimal or no infrastructure, and often times have to use their own resources to assist villagers in seeking healthcare beyond what they can provide.

“In reality, these community health workers are really the champions of our people in Cay South…” Espat continued.
He also took issue with the level of resources available at the Western Regional hospital, noting that international standards direct that doctors see around 20 patients a day, but that WRH doctors were seeing an average of 75 patients a day based on a survey that he conducted in collaboration with members of his party. Espat emphasized that GOB needs to conduct the needs survey as quickly as possible as many villagers are losing their lives due to conditions that could have addressed if the village had a better healthcare system in place.

The Minister of Health, Pablo Marin, was unavailable for comment, and his Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Ramon Figueroa, declined to comment on the need for such a survey and accompanying reallocation of resources.

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