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Western Regional Hospital gets expansion and new incinerator Print E-mail
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Thursday, 15 June 2017 00:00

On Tuesday the U.S. Embassy and the Government of Belize, in coordination with U.S. Army South, held the third ribbon cutting ceremony as part of the Beyond the Horizon 2017 (BTH) collaborative humanitarian exercise.  The ceremony, during which the BTH Task Force Commander officially handed over the keys to the emergency room expansion and a new structure with a medical waste incinerator to the Ministry of Health, took place at the Western Regional Hospital (WRH).

The ceremony featured the following speakers: Governor General His Excellency Sir Colville Young, Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. of the U.S. Embassy Ms. Adrienne Galanek, Minister of State for the Ministry of Health Mr. Angel Campos, BTH Task Force Commander COL John Simma, Defense Attaché of the U.S. Embassy LTC Robert Ramsey,Deputy Mayor of Belmopan Mr. Ralston Frazier, and the Ministry of Health’s Chief of Staff Dr. Rene Godoy and Regional Manager Ms. Melinda Guerra.

BTH is a collaborative training exercise between U.S. Army South, the Belize Defence Force (BDF), the Ministries of Defence, Health, and Education, as well as partner nations, such as Trinidad and Tobago and Colombia.  BTH also includes numerous NGOs and private companies from the United States and Belize. The emergency room expansion project could not have happened without close cooperation and partnership with the WRH and the Belmopan City Council.

The teams completed the project ahead of schedule, which allowed them to complete several additional projects, including the refurbishment of a children’s playground, building a gazebo for mental health patients, creating a new children’s space, and installing hand railings in various places to accommodate community members with special needs. The teams also cleaned-up the old incinerator site and reset an electrical pole that had been damaged by a hurricane.

Under the Defense Attaché LTC Rob Ramsey’s and the hospital’s vision and leadership, the Belmopan community worked together to beautify the hospital.  Together, they created new entrance point for the hospital, redesigned traffic flow, built new parking lot areas, painted the curbs, took down damaged trees and planted new ones, and raised the Belizean flag.

The new emergency room building is a result of over 40,000 hours of work and team effort.  U.S. Service Men and Women from the National Guard and the reserve component of the U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Air Force, hailing from the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Tennessee, Texas, Montana, Wisconsin, and Colorado participated in the project.  The specialists had the opportunity to train in their military occupations during six rotations of two-week long deployments.  The U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Air Force Reservists provided duration support for the project.

The emergency room expansion provides more than 1700 square feet of new space and more than doubles the hospital’s current emergency room capacity. The facility has a waiting area for a nurse’s station and bed areas.  The building has a ramp access for community members with special needs.  The next phase of the project will connect the new expansion with the existing emergency room building and provide equipment supplied by various NGOs.  The incinerator building houses a new portable, dual chamber, clean emissions medical waste incinerator, valued at approximately USD $95,000.

Valued at USD $11.5 million, BTH furthers the U.S. Government’s continued commitment to the Government and people of Belize.  BTH enhances health and education infrastructure and provides free medical services across Belize. The exercise consisted of five construction projects and three events offering free general medical and dental services across Belize.  BTH started on March 25, 2017 and is scheduled to end on June 15, 2017.