by Kristen Ku
BELIZE CITY, Tues. Sept. 19, 2023
The National Health Insurance (NHI) program has been actively expanding its healthcare services in Placencia and Independence villages, aiming to strengthen healthcare accessibility and efficiency for residents.
Four key healthcare facilities – the Independence Polyclinic, Buena Vista Polyclinic II, San Juan Health Center, and Placencia Health Center – collaborate to cater to a diverse population. Collectively, they serve a population of 28,000 individuals spanning 22 communities, 17 banana farms, and the entire Placencia peninsula.
As the primary care facility, the Independence Polyclinic remains operational around the clock, tending to an average of 50 patients daily and roughly 300 patients weekly. In addition to their in-clinic services, they also extend healthcare to the homes of chronic patients registered under the NHI program.
While the Placencia Health Center operates as a satellite of the Independence Polyclinic, its contributions are no less significant. Catering to a smaller patient base of 15-20 individuals daily, the center remains resolute in its mission.
Rona Mangar, the dedicated Rural Health Nurse at Placencia Health Center, emphasized their unwavering commitment to healthcare. “I have been working here at Placencia for the past 8 years. I’m a community health nurse. I do prenatal, child health, family planning, pap smear, VIA (Visual inspection of the cervix with acetic acid) sometimes. I also do emergencies after 5, every day, 24/7,” Mangar stated.
Her colleague, Nurse Ivy Hulse, added, “Every patient requires certain care, a certain standard of care; each patient is different so it takes a lot of time.”
Despite being the sole immediate healthcare provider on the peninsula, the staff’s dedication and professionalism parallel the standards of public health centers across the country.
It’s noteworthy that around 25,000 Belizeans, mainly from the southern part of the Stann Creek District and northeastern sections of the Toledo District, currently enjoy the benefits of reduced expenses for primary healthcare and medications, thanks to the National Health Insurance Programme.