Sun | Dec 3, 2023

PAHO/WHO praises Belize over decision to abolish user fees at public hospitals

Published:Sunday | November 19, 2023 | 11:00 AM
At the start of this month, the government announced it had taken the decision to remove fees at public hospitals. - CMC photo

BELMOPAN, Belize, CMC – The Belize government says it has received commendation from the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) for eliminating user fees at public hospitals.

“This acknowledgement is a testament to the relentless efforts of our government to ensure universal access to health services for all Belizeans. It serves as a reminder of our commitment to removing barriers to healthcare and advancing the well-being of our people,” said Health and Wellness Minister, Kevin Bernard.

At the start of this month, the government announced it had taken the decision to remove fees at public hospitals, adding that the decision to eliminate user fees in public hospitals is guided by the belief that access to healthcare is a fundamental right, not a privilege.

It said this move is expected to significantly ease the burden on Belizean households, enabling more people to seek medical interventions promptly without worrying about the financial implications. It is a major stride towards the government's goal of achieving universal health coverage.

In accepting the commendation of the PAHO/WHO, the government said it “cherishes its collaborative relationship” with the two United Nations organisations and that their joint work with PAHO/WHO continues to foster capacity building and health security.

“We are committed to continuing our efforts to further strengthen our health systems, guided by the principles of primary health care,” said Bernard, adding “we look forward to our continued partnership with PAHO/WHO as we strive to enhance the health sector and ensure better health outcomes for our people”.

The government statement said that its commitment to health care reform extends beyond eliminating user fees and that it is determined to continue the work of health system strengthening, ensuring that every Belizean has access to the quality health services they need, when and where they need them.

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