Find Health and Medical expertise in Belize

The public health system of Belize is made up of a network of seven district hospitals, divided into four regions. In total there are around 40 health centres and a further 40 posts. Private hospitals include La Loma Luz Hospital in the Cayo District and Universal Health Services in Belize City. Belize Medical Associates, a private hospital also located in Belize City, is considered to be the best equipped and most modern hospital in the country.

The majority of pharmaceuticals within the country are imported from the USA due to the undeveloped domestic processing industry, which concentrates on finishing products from imported ingredients. The entire health, medical and pharmaceutical sector is governed by the Ministry of Health, which is run under the jurisdiction of the Public Health Act and the Health Services and Institutions Act.

In 2003, following a successful pilot project, the government of Belize established a national health insurance (NHI) scheme. The government announced that the scheme would serve not only as a system of raising money for health care, but that is would also change the way that health funding is spent through the principle of an ‘informed purchaser’ from a ‘choice of providers’. In 2015, the NHI catered to more than 36,000 persons on the south side of Belize City.

In 2007 the WHO report Everybody’s Business: Strengthening Health Systems to Improve Health Outcomes defined six basic functions that would help Belize achieve its universal health care goals. These included the statements that: health services must be efficient, effective and accessible; access to medicines, vaccines and medical technologies must be equitable; and health financing systems must raise adequate funds for health, ensuring that people can access affordable services.

Government expenditure

Only a third of health care in Belize (35%) was paid for by patients or funded by other non-governmental entities – such as private insurers, charities or employers – in 2012. Total health expenditure constituted 5.8% of GDP in 2012, of which 65% was covered by the government.

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) accounted for an estimated 65% majority of all mortality in Belize in 2012. The most prevalent NCDs are cardiovascular diseases, which accounted for 25% of total deaths across all age groups in 2012. Cancer, diabetes and non-communicable variants of respiratory diseases contributed 11%, 9% and 4% to total mortality, respectively (2012). Communicable diseases along with maternal, perinatal and nutritional conditions accounted for an estimated 19% of all mortality in 2012. The prevalence of HIV in Belize, as a percentage of people aged 15–49 years, stood at 1.5% in 2012 and overall prevalence has increased by more than seven times since 1990 (0.3%). Confirmed cases of malaria in Belize have shown a dramatic decline in the period 2000–12. Estimated incidence of tuberculosis (TB) has remained largely unchanged in the period 1990–2012, while estimated mortality (when mortality data excludes cases comorbid with HIV) has seen significant fluctuation and in 2012 was double that of 1990.

Belize’s public spending on health was 3% of GDP in 2013. In the most recent survey, conducted between 1997 and 2010, there were 83 doctors, and 196 nurses and midwives per 100,000 people. Additionally, in the period 2007–12, 95% of births were attended by qualified health staff and, in 2013, 99% of one-year-olds were immunised with one dose of measles. In 2014, 100% of the country’s population was using an improved drinking water source and 91% had access to adequate sanitation facilities. The most recent survey, conducted in the period 2000–10, reports that Belize has 39 pharmaceutical personnel per 100,000 people.

Belize has signed but not ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which includes ‘the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health’. The covenant commits signees to providing healthy and hygienic environmental conditions, controlling epidemic diseases, improving child health and facilitating access to health services without discrimination.

Health and Medical organisations in Belize
Ministry of Health