“Today, we have a lot to boast about, and with the dedication of our staff, and their awesome ability to rise to the occasion despite the greatest of challenges, and the support of the board and the Ministry of Health and Wellness, we will have a lot more achievements. Our people need us, and we must answer the call,” CEO of the KHMH, Chandra Cansino said.
BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Sept. 15, 2022
The Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) celebrated its 27th anniversary of service to the country today. The hospital has been providing medical care to the Belizean population since 1995 when its doors were first opened. Since then, it has become the national referral hospital, and the apex tertiary care institution countrywide. The hospital’s administration hosted a ceremony of appreciation today to thank the staff for their invaluable work over the years at the hospital.
Minister of Health and Wellness, Hon. Kevin Bernard, and Prime Minister Hon. John Briceño were both in attendance.
“I still remember vividly when this institution was inaugurated—Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. I was two years in politics at that time. I think it’s the late Reuben Campos was the Minister of Health, and I was in such awe to be here in this brand new hospital at that time, state of the art, and feeling that somehow this institution is going to play a very important role in the development of our country,” PM Briceño remarked.
With around 700 KHMH employees catering to the population of 400,000, and in light of the increased demand for services that has stretched thin the hospital’s resources and staff, the PM agrees that supporting the institution is more important than ever.
“The KHMH continues to be our flagship hospital in this country, and after 27 years we can see that the wear and tear that this hospital has been going through, and the equipment, and even with the staff that has been working so hard, and if we don’t give back the love, if we don’t give back the necessary resources for you to be able to continue to operate – just like us human beings, if we don’t take care of ourselves, we are going to fall apart,” PM Briceño said.
One aspect of the institution that has been steadily deteriorating is the hospital’s physical structure, and the PM, during his remarks, made a commitment to addressing the situation.
“I want to tell you that as a government we understand that, and we have been working, and we will continue to work with the Minister, with the Chairman and his board and the CEO to see how we can uplift this hospital, how we can make this environment better for you all so that you can feel proud that you are working here at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, that you believe that your work is being recognized by not only the government but even by our people,” the PM remarked.
The Prime Minister also acknowledged the frontline workers at the national referral hospital who were the first responders to the COVID-19 pandemic, many sacrificing weeks without seeing their own family at the height of the pandemic.
“We salute the staff of this institution for all they have given, and continue to give of themselves and even of their families. We can never thank you all enough,” he said.
CEO of the hospital, Chandra Cansino, noted during her presentation that it seems we are nearing the end of the COVID-19 tunnel.
“While the tunnel may be long and dark, we are many, and we will walk together, we’ll support those who need a little help and we will persuade those who may need a little push, but as our village little upon itself, we will always be here for each other. None of us can do it alone, but together we can move mountains. Each and every member of the KHMH staff is important, and each person is a link in the chain of change that this institution needs to transform into a center of excellence,” CEO Cansino expressed.
Notably, a Cabinet brief released today notified the public that the Cabinet had approved the removal of restrictions on overtime pay for healthcare workers – one of the commitments made by the Ministry of Health and Wellness to nurses following the nationwide walkout at the end of August. PM Briceño in his presentation commended that initiative by the nurses.
“I must commend you that you were able to stand up but quickly sit down and discuss and negotiate and find common ground with the government. I say this to tell you that I know we still have a number of outstanding issues,” PM Briceño said, referring to a letter he has received from the KHMHAU regarding those workers’ pension scheme.
He said that he has asked the Minister of Health and Wellness, Hon. Kevin Bernard, to begin the conversation on that matter.
CEO Cansino remarked, “As you may know, the KHMH was established 27 years ago on September 15, 2022, 1995, and was named in the honor of Dr. Karl Huesner, who gave over 6 decades of his life to the service of Belize; and I know I’m not the only person here who remembers that transition … Five years later, the KHMH became the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital Authority under chapter 38 of the Laws of Belize. Back in ’95, we served a population of approximately 210,000 people, which today has almost doubled to approximately 400,000. Gradually, over the years the demand for care and services increased, forcing us to expand and deliver. Today, we have a lot to boast about, and with the dedication of our staff, and their awesome ability to rise to the occasion despite the greatest of challenges, and the support of the board and the Ministry of Health and Wellness, we will have a lot more achievements. Our people need us, and we must answer the call.”