Pleasant New Year’s greetings!
In 1984, as a concerned teenager, I wrote some letters to the Amandala and they were published. Thirty-four years going to thirty-five years later, I am back with such a request, after returning to my country a few years ago.
Attached is a letter to the editor that I would — and I am sure the Belizean people as well would— be grateful that you publish.
Thanks a lot for your cooperation in advance.
Jan. 16, 2019
Director of Medical Services,
Ministry of Health
Dear Dr. Manzanero,
A pleasant New Year’s greetings to you and wishes of success in your daily endeavours.
Sir, the purpose of the following is to express to you my deep concern about the recent incidents in the public domain in the first two weeks of this year that reflect the weakness of our health system. As a medical doctor and a concerned Belizean, I find it extremely disturbing that an infant died of diarrhoea, whether it be infectious, metabolic or of any other aetiology and that a police officer died of a gunshot wound in the abdominal cavity, when hundreds around the world survive long-range- rifle gunshot wounds in the abdominal cavity.
We cannot continue to tolerate the senseless death of our citizens in a country with a small population. Who will pay the salary of the public workers when their salaries are paid from taxpayers’ money? Who pays taxes? Who will pay the salary of the ministers? How will we make our pension scheme sustainable?
We need to identify and solve the serious problems in our national health system, as a matter of urgency, both in the physical and mental realm.
Diabetes, hypertension, and drug abuse should be declared as national emergencies. San Pedro Town should have a tertiary level hospital. It is our renowned and significant touristic hub and a big community. Should we wait until the state is sued in millions of dollars for state health and medical negligence for attention and action to be taken? In the absence of a tertiary hospital, they should have an equipped permanent helicopter air ambulance with the ability to land at a tertiary hospital.
The good health of us Belizeans is paramount to our development. Belize is the only country in Central America where the social security system doesn’t have its own hospital. From a political strategy point of view, a tertiary level hospital for San Pedro Town, is more important than a highway to Caracol: Poor prioritization of the government. We are living in the 21st century, but with the 19th century strategies.
We as a nation deserve better. Our state should resume its constitutional obligation of providing good health services to its citizens.
A Healthy Nation is a Happy Nation!
With sincere concerns,
Gerald Zuniga, M.D.