Sunday, July 11, 2010

BELIZE - A LITTLE STORY OF MEDICAL SERVICE

LITTLE STORY OF MEDICAL SERVICE IN BELIZE

I'm 72 going on 73 soon years old. For the last month I've had something annoying me on the back side of my right ear. A pimple, a boil, a growth, or an insect bite? In the tropics insect bites can be troublesome. Sometimes like Botlas flies they lay eggs and develop a larva under the skin.
Anyway, a month later, this thing had been treated by me at home with anti-biotic cream and then BLACK SALVE which supposedly will draw a pimple or boil head out. Nothing worked and trying to sleep on one side was hurting as the skin is stretched and sore.
So I broke down at the behest of my wife and decided I would go to the Government POLY CLINIC. About 2 1/2 miles away from the twin towns suburb where I live. When we talk suburbs in Belize, there is no relation to a suburb in North America, or European metropolitan areas. We have no FREEWAYS here. These are dirt roads around here and very agriculture rural. Saturday was the only real day I could get loose and after missing a couple of Saturdays, finally went yesterday morning. Most of the nurses are Belizean, but the doctors are usually CUBAN, from the CUBAN MEDICAL BRIGADE that gives socialized medicine around many countries in the world. They are great people and it is a great system, far better than medical services found in the USA, except perhaps in the most poor rural parts of the USA. Spent about an hour in a queue. Everything is computerized. Nurse put in my particulars on the computer and then I went to wait my turn for the doctor. About a dozen people before me on the seats, on this 8:30 a.m. early Saturday morning. About 50 people were lined up before I left. This medical service is FREE in Belize. We have both socialized medicine and also a few private doctor practitioners and hospitals at which you can pay.
Finally got my turn into the doctors office. A young Cuban guy, with limited English. He asked a few questions, looked at my ear and the swelling. Asked if it was an insect bite ( I didn't know ), was I allergic to any antibiotics ( no! ), asked how long I had it. I thought it might be a cyst, but couldn't see it to form any judgement. Just told him it was painful and disturbing my sleep. So he had pulled up on the computer my file and knew my name. I was carrying a slip of paper with my registered name and number on it, from the nurse. Then he went into what was apparently a SOFTWARE DIAGNOSIS PROGRAM. I'd read about these, but believe they don't allow them in the USA due to the ROBBER BARON Medical CARTELS? Anyway, CUBANS have a medical diagnosis software program on a laptop. I was curious to see how it worked and turned out? He put in the particulars he had observed and the information. Then he started going through a dozen web pages filling out what appeared to be YES or NO answers. He would fill out the questionnaires and then it would flip to another page. This went on for five minutes, then he prescribed for me tetracycline an antibiotic, an antibiotic cream and some Tylenol pills for pain. I was sent to the POLY CLINIC pharmacy down the corridor. Treatment was to be 3 pills of tetracycline a day for a week and if it didn't cure it, then come back. He said I had an infection. The pharmacy took about ten minutes. All this stuff is FREE! I had taken a book to read and managed to get through a chapter and a half while in the two different queues. I was out fairly quickly, within an hour and a half.
From there I went driving to the electrician for cars and got my lights fixed on the pickup truck, which some policeman had told my wife were not working properly. Half an hour there ( $20 bz for labor, bulb, fuse ) and from there went to the TWIN TOWNS market and picked up some YOGURT, bananas -10 for a $1 bz - .50 cents usa, and from two different Mennonites I bought two sorts of HOT home made cheese. Two pounds for $5 bz is the going rate for fresh home made farm cheese. On the way home, I stopped at the Chinese Supermarket, along our town main drag, one of around 5 in Santa Elena Town on my side of the Macal River and picked up some salted peanuts, hot salami sausage and boneless chicken breast and a package of seedless raisins. Then off to home about 3/4 mile away up a dirt road and a winding hill, to Hillview suburb on the side of Green Parrot valley. I was home by 11:30 a.m. Total time around two hours for everything yesterday morning.
I know you cannot get this kind of SERVICE in the USA. Believe me, Western Belize is a PARADISE for climate and living. I feel sorry for you poor folks living in industrialized countries, with lousy weather, heavy traffic and interminable delays and the costs of living out of sight. You have no idea how good it is to be retired in a rural tropical country like Belize.

1 comment:

manasi said...

Great thoughts you got there, believe I may possibly try just some of it throughout my daily life.









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