“Little Belize,” writes Correspondent from that country Phil Hahn, “is blessed with abundant natural resources and a small population. This combination, along with the fact that English is the official language, has helped the country to attract great interest from the U.S., Canada, and Great Britain.
“One essential service that has been positively impacted by all this is health care. Primary, secondary, and tertiary care is offered in Belize through both public and private facilities. Fees are reasonable, most major insurance policies are accepted, and pharmaceuticals are readily available.
“Throughout the country, the government operates clinics and hospitals that cater to the local citizens. In addition, though, you’ll find private clinics everywhere and private hospitals in Belize City, Cayo, Orange Walk, and Corozal. There is not yet a private hospital in southern Belize. The private facilities provide better quality care and are where foreign residents typically seek treatment. These are more expensive than the public facilities but still considerably more affordable than the cost of standard U.S. care.
“Last year two of my associates required medical attention. Both were very happy with their experiences.
“Our COO Dave Drummond lost a crown several months ago and needed to see a dentist. He called Dr. Garcia in Corozal at 9 a.m. and had an appointment for 11 a.m. Dr. Garcia gave Dave a Novocain shot and put in a temporary crown during the 45-minute initial visit. Dave returned a week later for his permanent crown, which had been ordered from Belize City. Installing the permanent crown took 30 minutes.
“The total bill, for both visits, was US$225. Dave reported that his new crown ‘looked better than the one I’d had done in the States.’
“Meantime, our Sales Director Elizabeth Dull took a tumble several months ago off her quad bike. As Elizabeth explains:
‘I was admitted to the Northern Belize Medical Plaza in Orange Walk around 10 p.m. The care I received was excellent. The doctors, nurses, and radiologist were all very pleasant and gave me a level of care to match what I would expect in the States. I spent the night with an IV, had 11 x-rays, an ultrasound, and pain meds, and checked out the following morning with a fractured finger, some scrapes and bruises, and a bill for US$497.’
“The U.S. and Great Britain continue to have a significant presence in Belize. Over the years, the U.S. and the British government, NGO’s, and private businesses and individuals from both countries have all contributed to the country’s investment in health care.
“Great Britain continues to work with BERT (the Belize Emergency Rescue Team) when needed. And, thanks to the combined efforts of U.S. doctors, the Rotary Club of Belize, U.S. corporations, and the Belize government, an endoscopy clinic was opened about six years ago. Other modern initiatives continue.
“In addition, Belize boasts some of the planet’s most effective traditional healing alternatives. This is a small country with big areas of protected rainforest. In these forests grow plants known for their medicinal benefits. Efforts are being made to designate particular protected areas as medicine camps.
“For major surgery or the advice of a specialist, you’d choose to travel to the States. However, the private facilities in this country are well-equipped to handle routine health care and minor procedures. Again, the treatment is professional and affordable. And supported by a long history of natural healing options.
“Perhaps the best part, though, is that, here in Belize, you enjoy a great climate, fresh produce, non-preservative-laden foods, and a healthy, adventurous lifestyle.
“For me…for many…it’s the good life defined.”