Dr. Javier Zuniga leaves to pursue Master’s Degree in International Public Health

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

The Medical Coordinator and Director of the Dr. Otto Rodriguez San Pedro PolyClinic II Dr. Javier Zuniga is making final preparations to leave the country to further his medical career. This year Dr. Zuniga was offered the Australian Development Award which earned him a scholarship to pursue a Masters Degree in International Public Health. While the scholarship begins on January 1st, Dr. Zuniga is making final preparations and is hopeful that upon his return he will be reassigned to San Pedro or given a position related to the subject he is furthering his studies in.

 

In speaking to The San Pedro Sun, Dr. Zuniga said that the scholarship is for one year and that he is one of four Belizeans that are furthering their studies in various areas as part of the usAid scholarship program. “After spending six years working at the primary care level, I have come to realize that many changes can be done with our health care system, but not working as a general practitioner. For changes to occur we need to make them at the ministerial level, and for me to push for what I believe should be the best health care possible, I would need to work at the ministerial level. So this master’s degree will basically help me, it’s a step forward, to get the knowledge and the experience, so that one day I could work at the ministerial level to make the necessary changes that we need to do to better our health care system,” said a visionary Dr. Zuniga.

According to Dr. Zuniga, he leaves as the Medical Coordinator and Director from the clinic and will resume his position upon his return in January of 2014. “It’s a one year study leave and I will return to San Pedro. It will be up to the Ministry of Health, if they want to use my new knowledge that I have acquired to work at the ministerial level or work at another region in the country,” said Dr. Zuniga adding that San Pedro is his home and will be his home when he returns.
“I would like to thank all those who made my efforts at the clinic possible. The changes that we have made at the clinic, I think it’s for the better for the people of San Pedro and also for the health system of the island. Many other changes need to be done but it’s a step-by-step process, we just can’t make all changes at one time. We must take it in strides,” ended the doctor.

Dr. Zuniga, was born in San Ignacio, Cayo were he attended Sacred Heart Elementary School and later moved on to Sacred Heart College (SHC). Graduating from SHC, Zuniga went on to continue his studies at St. John’s College Junior College where he majored in the Sciences and also earned a scholarship to pursue his dreams to become a doctor in Cuba. In 2003, Dr Zuniga graduated from El Instituto Superior de Ciencias Médicas de Villa Clara “Dr. Serafín Ruiz de Zárate Ruiz”, located in the city of Santa Clara in Cuba and because of all his accomplishments he received El Diploma de Oro (The Golden Diploma), one of the highest recognitions offered by the medical institution. Dr. Zuniga had also enrolled to further his career as a cardiologist but due to a family tragedy, had to return to Belize.

Since August of 2006, Dr Zuniga has served the community of San Pedro, eventually becoming the Medical Coordinator and Director of the only public health facility on the island. Dr. Zuniga will be studying at the University Of Sydney School Of Public Health located in the city of Sydney in Australia. The San Pedro Sun joins the residents of San Pedro Town in wishing Dr. Javier Zuniga success and best of luck in his studies.

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