Belmopan’s Western Regional Hospital has been in the center of a firestorm with revelation upon revelation coming from the crumbling structure – the deaths of two women attending the hospital and the discovery of rats and snakes attacking a baby in an incubator and a nurse respectively. As we have previously reported, the latest victims are the vendors working at the hospital who have been asked to depart as the Ministry makes major renovations. We got a chance to speak to CEO Dr. Peter Allen today, who commented on the matter.
Dr. Peter Allen, CEO Ministry of Health: Well essentially what we asked is for our technical officers is to go in with the management and staff of the Western Regional Hospital and to develop a plan to dealing with this really outrageous problem. Now part of that plan was clearing the yard, part of it was cleaning holes and ceiling holes, part of it is replacing screens and doors, part of it is rodent sizing in the use of chemicals and traps. Part of it is going into the neighbors yards, which have not been cleared, and cleaning those and doing our best to make sure they stay clean. Part of it was that the public health Inspector recommended that right now the vendors where the structure is not considered appropriate should be moved with the understanding that once the problem is controlled, that we should be able to create a better environment for the vendors to return.
According to Dr. Allen the renovations will take some months but repeats that the Ministry intends to get the situation under control as quickly as possible. In related news, apart from confirming a preliminary report on the death of Nolberta Sanchez, the new mother who is suspected to have died from too much loss of blood after giving birth by Caeserian section, Dr. Allen said he would limit his comments due to the possibility of litigation.
Dr. Peter Allen, CEO Ministry of Health: I am sorry but I really can’t do that. I do know that the investigation is ongoing. I have had an initial report. I can only really echo the comments of the director of health services when he says that we understand that this will be an issue that involves litigation and the office of the solicitor general and the attorney general’s ministry always advises us in these situations not to comment on such sensitive subjects. So with due respect I’m just not in a position to comment.
The same goes for San Antonio resident Lucia Cal who died after late treatment of a ruptured appendix. The deaths are a rarity for Belize and a black eye for the Ministry of Health in its promotion of mother and baby-friendly facilities.