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500+ cops get discounted healthcare

General500+ cops get discounted healthcare

Photo: Hon. Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs, signs MOU

by Charles Gladden

BELIZE CITY, Wed. Mar. 15, 2023

On Wednesday, March 15, the Ministry of Home Affairs signed a first-of-its-kind MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with the Social Security Board by means of which approximately 552 police officers from the Southside Precincts 1, 2, and 4 in Belize City will be able to access healthcare services at a reduced price through the assistance of NHI (National Health Insurance).

“Our officers, a lot of them suffer [from] hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and so the primary care services that will be offered, which also include a mental health aspect to it, is certainly something that is much needed,” said Minister of Home Affairs, Hon. Kareem Musa.

Minister Musa additionally noted, “It goes without saying, that a safer Belize starts with a healthy police officer and a healthy Police Department.”

In return for this low-priced access to these healthcare services, the officers will be required to provide a security presence at the 5 NHI clinic locations within Belize City, and the Belize Police Department will be providing training to equip officers for additional patrols in the area.

“Most of the threats have occurred either at Matron Roberts, BMA, or BHP, Belize Healthcare Partners. Remember, the clinics are located in the Southside; everybody knows that [in] the Southside, you tend to have certain outbursts every once in a while. And then we have had some actual patients that have threatened the doctors or nurses, so those are the conditions under which they work every single day, so they had expressed their concerns to us, and that’s why we had approached the Police Department to see how we can improve security at the different facilities,” said Dr. Ramon Figueroa, General Manager for NHI.

Those officers will gain access to a range of services – health screening with blood pressure measurements; Body Mass Index with waist measurements; routine laboratory tests, including tests to gauge blood glucose levels, kidney and liver function; and prostate and cervical cancer screening.

Additionally, the officers registered in the program will be participating in sessions coordinated by the specific health facilities and will be able to meet with a nutritionist and/or a mental health counsellor.

The MOU will become effective on April 1 and expire in September 2023, after which it will be reviewed.

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