The Belize Ministry of Health Responds to Request Print E-mail
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Thursday, 17 May 2012 00:00

Dr. Peter AllenThe Belmopan Mental Health Consumer Association for Users, Families and Volunteers BMHCA takes this opportunity to thank the Ministry of Health for the continued commitment to providing newer medications—that produce little side effects for the treatment of mental illness.  It is important that we have a constant supply of these newer medications, considered by mental health experts as crucial to preventing catastrophic relapses. Patients that are on treatment and stable are productive citizens and can significantly boost the Country’s GDP.

Since 2004, these newer psychotropics have been dispensed free of cost at Government Pharmacies around Belize.  As a result, Consumers around the country are now placing their shoulder to the wheel in the country’s development; in Government itself, education, agriculture, mechanics, housing construction and other vital functions in the productive sector.

BMHCA recently had the opportunity to meet with Dr. Peter Allen, Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Health, where useful information was gathered on the mental health program. Risperdal, a Second Generation Antipsychotics (SGA) is a medication that is utilized in the treatment of a certain psychiatric disorders and which comes with few pyramidal symptoms is now available in the country. Dr. Allen committed to continuing to procure the SGA, like Risperdal, because “We are investing in our people and our people health and mental health matter.” he said.

Risperdal had arrived in the country a few weeks ago, but had undergone quality control procedures.

“The Chief Pharmacist has put new rules where all customs entries have to be stamped by the drug inspector,” said Dr. Allen.  There is only one such inspector in the Country.

We applaud such screening of psychotropics and other medications to ensure that their biochemical functions are on target. This also gives us the assurance that they are not counterfeit products.

According to the CEO, funds for a full time psychiatrist for Belize, has become available and the Ministry of Health is now seeking such an urgently needed specialist. Currently, there are only two psychiatrists practicing in Belize.

Help is also coming with additional human capital. An additional 20 PNPs’ will be trained at the University College of Belize, in collaboration with the UK Trust for Mental Health. But 20 nurses would have to first be identified, to serve substituting roles.

In other news, a spacious facility will now revert to its intended purpose as an excellent mental health care centre by the end of June of this year.  The Psychiatric Unit at the Western Regional Hospital in Belmopan had been built with funds from a Japanese entity. But that building had been utilized, for a period of five years, for critically important maternal and child health care functions. The re-concentration of expertise and the bolstering of the Psychiatric Wing at the Belmopan based hospital, would add greatly to the recovery rate and continued stability of Consumers.

Dr. Allen fully agreed that impediments remain for mental health, such as is the case with stigma.

“The only way you can offer help is if you come forward,” said the leader of a great team at the Ministry of Health.

Efforts to organize consumers around the country have become quite successful. Herein, Rodolfo Cruz, President of the Consumer Association in San Ignacio, expresses his gratitude to the recent acquisition of more of the SGA. 

“ Dr. Peter Allen, Greetings to you, wherever the good Lord may hold you. As President of the San Ignacio Consumers Group, which was formed  at the old San Ignacio hospital, I would like to take this moment to express sincere thanks to you all on behalf of our group. I Rodolfo Cruz, had written to you recently, requesting your assistance with medications that are supplied to us at the hospital. We have been informed that our request has been considered and approved. Such good news brings to my mental health an astounding and positive feeling that can only be compared to the climax and stability of peace that comes to mind when our medications bring healing. Through this medium, I would also like to make mention of our willing and able Dr. Claudina Cayetano, our Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners and the many loving patients that we have had, to meet along the path of struggles, which I sincerely pray, guides us to be in eternal unity with our celestial father. Once again, thanks and may Jehova bless Belize our beloved Nation.”
----Press Release --