The population of Belize is under 320,000. Thus, the availability of specialists and services in Belize does not parallel those that one may have become accustomed to in North America. In the event of an emergency, one must be transported to a facility on the mainland, or most likely to Mexico, the United States, or Guatemala.
Fortunately, the number of high quality hospitals and facilities that provide qualified medical staff and exceptional medical attention are increasing on the mainland. On the bright side, the cost of treatment is considerably lower than in North America. Belize Medical Associates, specifically, is an excellent facility that provides quality treatment, comprehensive medical testing, and state-of-the-art equipment.
Medical Professionals Who Care
In San Pedro, it is not uncommon to happen upon your doctor or dentist on the boulevard, at the store, or at a festival. The doctor-patient relationship is very special and intimate on this small island. It is the common practice here for doctors to share their cell phone numbers with their patients. As well, they expect you to call in case of an emergency.
There are numerous travelers’ health insurance policies available. If you become ill and are uninsured, you will still receive treatment but will be required to pay for services rendered by credit card or cash. Luckily, the medical costs in Belize are reasonable, in contrast to the United States. A routine doctor’s visit is typically around $30.00. Many health insurance policies – aside from certain HMOs, Medicaid and Medicare – cover the travelers’ medical expenses. However, be sure to double- check your policy beforehand to ensure coverage.
Healthcare in Ambergris Caye
Currently, Ambergris Caye does not have a hospital, but a Polyclinic is available at which a doctor is on call 24 hours per day, seven days per week.
What Ambergris Caye does offer is a reasonable number of dedicated medical practitioners. These family doctors are reminiscent of the 1950s doctors in North America who made house calls when a family member became ill. As well, a doctor on Ambergris Caye will characteristically spend the necessary amount of time with a patient, so that a proper diagnosis is made. The patient is never made to feel rushed.
Most of the medical professionals on Ambergris Caye have been educated and skilled in a specialty. Nevertheless, the lion’s share of their days is consumed by treating common maladies or injuries of local patients. The doctors who practice on Ambergris Caye and Belize have been trained educated the USA, the UK, Cuba, Guatemala or Mexico.
Healthcare in Belize is as diverse as is culture and landscape. From highly skilled medical practitioners to herbalists and holistic healers, the healthcare in Belize and Ambergris Caye is adequate with the facilities to keep you well. And in the event of a critical disease or injury, hospitals in Houston and Miami involve only a short plane trip.