Thursday, April 18, 2024

Ambergris Hope Hospital almost complete; fully opening in February 2024

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Residents of San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye have for years been longing for a hospital. The population has grown exponentially and a larger and better equipped medical facility is now needed. While previous government administrations have pledged to construct the anticipated structure on the island, it was the current government that finally confirmed its construction in January of this year. A ground-breaking was to occur in the following months, but it has now been scheduled for early 2024. Meanwhile, Ambergris Hope Clinic, a private health center on Pescador Drive, is being transformed into a modern hospital set to fully open in February 2024.
The site of this much-needed infrastructure is in downtown San Pedro. The clinic, founded by Dr. Daniel Gonzalez, is now becoming a fully equipped health facility called the Ambergris Hope Hospital, poised to offer cutting-edge technology and deliver an unparalleled healthcare experience. Although the medical center is currently being upgraded, they have already started to offer essential services. General Manager and Chief Nursing Officer Cora Guillen shared that the private hospital offers 24-hour emergency care and facilities for overnight admissions, pharmacy, radiology, X-ray services, Ultrasound, Gynecology, and a fully equipped laboratory. The hospital also has a Hyperbaric chamber onsite to treat decompression sickness, a potential illness of scuba diving.
Ambergris Hope Hospital is also being prepared to expand its medical services and when fully opened it will provide other services such as the first CT scan in San Pedro. The hospital will also be equipped with a space to conduct hemodialysis and will house an operating theatre as well. According to Guillen the hospital currently has a general practitioner, radiologist, and pediatrician at all times. The Department of Gynecology is offering its services on Mondays and Tuesdays. The hospital will also offer the services of urologists, internists, and laparoscopic surgeons when fully opened in February. Guillen said that the aim is to offer a wide range of services and avoid the need for islanders to travel to the mainland or even to other countries like Guatemala or Mexico. “Islanders will now have the option to access a state-of-the-art hospital here in San Pedro, with qualified personnel, using the best available technology,” she said. The most common place island residents travel seeking medical attention are the Mexican cities of Chetumal or Merida.

The Ambergris Hope Hospital has been a vision of Dr. Gonzalez. The good island doctor will remain at the medical facility active until February, and following its official opening will take some time off. The hospital will be managed by the Belize medical company called CGH. A group of professionals committed to leading the change in medical services San Pedro residents deserve.
First responders like Philip ‘Billy’ Leslie with the Rickilee Rescue Response team on the island are more than happy with the new medical facility. “We have been doing great responses with them already,” Leslie commented. He said the island needs such upgrades in health services and with the Ambergris Hope Hospital offering this range of medical services, islanders and tourists alike can now rely on a better medical response. Some San Pedro residents told The Sun that it was about time to start seeing a health center with these essential medical services. Although it is a private hospital, some of these happy islanders said that the hospital management has been very accommodating, and professional and provides quality health care.
Government Hospital ground-breaking still pending
Meanwhile, a ground-breaking for the hospital promised by the central government is yet to take place. On January 11th of this year, Area Representative the Honourable Andre Perez hosted in San Pedro Prime Minister Honourable Dr. John Briceño, Minister of Health Honourable Kevin Bernard, and former Taiwanese Ambassador to Belize His Excellency David Kuan-Chou Chien. The meeting was for the historic signing of the Memorandum of Understanding for the construction of the San Pedro Hospital. The funding for the hospital’s construction is via a $33 million grant from the people and Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan).
Following the historic event, no updates have been made available on the ground-breaking and beginning of the hospital’s construction. Area Representative Honourable Perez has stated that the funds have been secured. As per the materialization of the project, Perez shared that the ground-breaking has been scheduled for early 2024, without specifying an exact month and date. He explained that everything (the process) needs to be done right and build the hospital correctly.
The only public medical facility on the island is the Dr. Otto Rodriguez San Pedro Polyclinic II south of Tropic Air Cargo in the downtown area. This facility has expanded its services throughout the years; however, it has limitations, and San Pedranos today requires more services as the population continues to exponentially grow.

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