Friday, July 19, 2024

Ground-breaking ceremony for new PolyClinic in Caye Caulker held

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On Friday, August 20th, an official ground-breaking ceremony for a new PolyClinic was celebrated in Caye Caulker. Officiating the event were the Prime Minister, the Honourable John Briceño, the Minister of Health and Wellness, the Honourable Michel Chebat, the Area Representative, the Honourable Andre Perez, and Caye Caulker Village Council Chairwoman Seleny Villanueva-Pott.

The long-awaited event was held in the Bahia area, where the new health center will be built. The ceremony started after 10AM. Caye Caulker Chairwoman Villanueva-Pott was the first to share her remarks. “We know about stories when the medical personnel of Caye Caulker are not able to efficiently diagnose or treat a patient due to the lack of equipment or the severity of the patient […] if a patient needs to be transported off the island for medical attention to the mainland, weather conditions can be an obstacle. These are not just stories; this is the reality of the Caye Caulker community,” said Pott.

Area Representative Honourable Perez highlighted that Caye Caulker has contributed to the national economy as one of the top tourism destinations in the country. “Today marks the symbolic start of giving back to Caye Caulker what it has justly earned and deserves […] action is being taken on the construction of the first phase of the clinic and you, our people, will no longer have to fear that being ill means a long travel to the city (Belize City) or San Pedro Town just to receive critical medical care.”

MOHW head, the Honourable Chebat, said that due to the growth of Caye Caulker, the current health center could not accommodate the growing demands for health care services. “There is no room for expansion nor a proper emergency and observation room,” said Chebat. “As a top tourism destination, it deserves an adequate health center for both residents and tourists alike,” Chebat said that additional medical staff would be hired to operate this clinic, and current medical personnel will receive further training.

Prime Minister Briceño’s keynote message emphasized that proper medical services are a fundamental right of every Belizean. Briceño said that his government was elected to make a difference in the lives of all Belizeans. He reminded Hicaqueños of the promises of a new clinic made by past administrations. “We are here doing a ground-breaking ceremony and will start to build a health center for Caye Caulker,” said Briceño. The Prime Minister said that there is much work to do in Caye Caulker but starting the construction of a much-needed clinic is top of the agenda.

The first phase of the clinic’s construction will be equipped with a pharmacy, triage room, asthma bay, treatment room, consultation rooms, observation rooms, sterile room, waiting areas, restroom, and facilities for staff and visitors. There will also be a laundry room, utility room, and waste disposal and storage facilities.

A Caribbean Development Bank loan funds the construction cost via the Belize Social Investment Fund and comes with an estimated cost of BZ$1.4 million. The new polyclinic should be completed in nine months. Plans for the health center include a second floor and ancillary items to be funded in a future project. Julio Magaña of Triple E Construction is undertaking the construction of the health center.

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