Construction for Belize Children's Clinic Underway

Construction for Belize Children's Clinic Underway

by Heather Mayer, DOTmed News Reporter | May 05, 2010
Artist's rendering of
Sanford Belize clinic
Ground broke Tuesday for the first Sanford Children's international clinic in Belize City, Belize. The castle-themed clinic, dubbed "Castle of Care" by Sanford, will provide care to children in the underserved nation. It's part of a worldwide effort by the South Dakota provider to improve community health care.

"One of those initiatives involved establishing a network of Sanford children's clinics around the world in areas that need pediatric services," said Mark Johnston, vice president of corporate communications for Sanford Health.

The initiatives Johnston refers to also include a children's health research program and the Sanford Project, which will work to find a cure for type 1 diabetes. These projects are being funded by a $400-million gift from Denny Sanford, a businessman and philanthropist. Sanford Health changed its name from Sioux Valley Health after Sanford's donation in 2007.

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The children's clinic, which is built to be self-sustaining, said Johnston, received donations from the Belize Healthcare Charitable Trust (BHCT), which gave $2 million Belize ($1 million USD) and Belize Healthcare Partners Limited, a full-service hospital, which donated land near its facility.

"It provides pediatric services, which is not a main focus of health care in Belize," Keith Neal, Belize Healthcare Partners Limited director of clinical services told DOTmed News. "Our main goal is primarily to see pediatric health care move forward."

But this health clinic will help more than just the children of Belize, Neal explained.

"It definitely creates a whole new scope for the children of Belize," he said. "Not only Belize, but for neighboring countries -- Guatemala, Mexico -- to be able to access this kind of service, which is not available."

Belize Healthcare Partners Limited will share the 9,000-square-foot clinic, where it will serve outpatient adults.

"Both of us [Belize Healthcare Partners Limited and Sanford] will benefit in the sense of the building, but in terms of health, the goal is to see pediatric health care move forward," Neal said. "It's definitely a good addition."

The children's clinic, which will have pediatric sub-specialists from Belize, will be connected to the team of pediatric physicians from Sanford Children's Hospital in Sioux Falls, S.D, who will rotate through the different clinics.

"We believe it will be good for us...to give Sanford physicians the ability to do rotations through these clinics," Johnston said. "It helps give a different perspective on medicine at our different locations around the world. We see that as a great benefit in our belief that care is best delivered close to home, but also to give our physicians the ability to expand their knowledge and education."

The Belize clinic is expected to be completed in summer 2011. The first world clinic opened in August 2009 in Oklahoma, and the next location will be in Oceanside, Calif.