Today was World Health Day 2009 and PAHO celebrated, if you can call
it that, with a symposium called “safe hospitals save lives.” It
focused on the safety of health facilities and the Director of Health Services
discussed the states of safety for Belize’s medical facilities.
Dr. Michael Pitts, Director of Health Services
“We want to look at the ability of the hospitals to withstand a disaster,
in the case of a hurricane to withstand wind and flood. But in terms of being
safe, it must withstand that and it must be functional in terms of the equipment
and tools that it has. For example in a storm you may have the integrity of
the water system, the public water system might be jeopardized. For hospitals
you don’t want that to happen. So if that is breached then it is not safe.
So there are a number of things. The electricity is essential to run a hospital.
If you don’t have the redundancy and the backup to switch on when everything
else is down then that hospital is not safe. Now the next thing is you must
have the personnel who are capable to respond in a disaster situation.”
If you are assessed Belize’s private and public health care system as
regards safety, if you have to give an overall grade, where would you rate us
on a scale of one to ten?
Dr. Michael Pitts,
“I believe on average we are in the middle and it is because the public
and private facilities are all over this country, in different points of vulnerability
with different type of infrastructure. Like I said, if I run to Loma Luz, that
is the mostly a wooden building built on a hill so it wouldn’t suffer
from a flood but if strong enough wind came there, it would suffer from that.
We come to Belize City, three major hospitals. One is metal and on the ground,
another is ferro-concrete and maybe two storeys up, a block from the sea. So
they are vulnerable to flooding. But you go inland and you have a Belmopan hospital…”
Which roof’s is leaking.
Dr. Michael Pitts,
“Which is being retrofitted you see so that is part of the plan, to
retrofit the roof.”