BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Aug. 27, 2020– Yesterday, Wednesday, August 26, the People’s United Party, through a virtual broadcast, launched the second phase of their manifesto, better known as “Plan Belize,” in which a policy for health reform is proposed for the country.
The virtual rollout featured a number of PUP stalwarts and experts providing insights on the current status of the country’s healthcare system, as well as on the challenges being faced within the healthcare sector as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Head of the PUP Health Committee, Dr. Marco Tulio Mendez, stated that the police would be used to strengthen primary care for the community base, and also, “our health services will be restructured and modern technology implemented to improve the efficiency and the quality of healthcare.” “There is no doubt that with this health policy, the accessibility to healthcare, the affordability and the quality of healthcare is going to improve, he said.
The plan proposes ten specific actions, including the rollout of the National Health Insurance (NHI) program to the entire nation, which the PUP promises will be done within their first term.
Other proposed actions include improving the management, infrastructure and staff competence of the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH); upgrading health facilities with state-of-the-art technology, and adding an additional wing to the KHMH to provide specialized lung, kidney, heart and brain services; constructing a new health facility in Punta Gorda and in Belmopan; providing “mobile clinics” for the elderly in each district; implementing a mental health policy, and more.
With regards to COVID-19, public health specialist Dr. Daisy Garcia described the party’s new approach to managing the increasing anxieties and difficulties being dealt with during the current process of addressing the illness.
“Today, we are faced with a health system that is unable to cope, a health system that is overburdened. This party, the People’s United Party, does not envision that kind of health system because we deserve better. Belizeans deserve better. The strengthening of this pillar will steer the health sector from a command and control model to engaging interaction and collaboration between the health sector and other sectors in society,” Garcia said.
Garcia further remarked, “The PUP recognizes that health information is key for the analysis, dissemination and use of reliable and timely health information. This is to make the proper decisions for the people of this country on a daily basis and in emergencies.
“To achieve this, the PUP will have a skilled team with the capacity to detect, investigate, communicate and contain events that threaten the public health security, making emphasis always on public health surveillance, and the capacity to provide epidemiologic laboratory support so as to facilitate accurate, analytic results in a timely manner.”
“We will also promote the use of telemedicine and tele-health in the country, taking into account the recommendations of the Belize Medical and Dental Association for the timely application of policy,” she said.
Leader of the Opposition, Hon. John Briceño, took the helm to guide the discussions of the new policy, along with multiple PUP area representatives, senators, doctors and experts.
Briceño has pledged to start enacting most of the party’s plans for a healthier Belize from the very first day he takes office.