Medical care In Belize

Belize boasts a reasonably well-established medical care system, present in both the private and public sectors. The government manages hospitals or polyclinics in major cities, towns, and significant population centers, including large villages.

Belize City stands out as the hub for top-tier medical care in the country, attributed to its substantial population and client base, reaching close to 100,000 when accounting for suburban areas like Vista Del Mar, Ladyville, and Ambergris Caye. This urban center hosts various dental and private medical facilities, offering services such as labs and diagnostics. The primary referral facility, Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (Princess Margaret Drive, Tel. 501-223-1548), addresses most serious medical issues. Dental care in Belize is notably high in quality, often provided by U.S.-trained dental surgeons at nearly half the cost compared to North America.

Despite being a modern public hospital, Karl Heusner Memorial faces challenges like equipment issues, supply shortages, and management problems. Stories of improper treatment and operational issues are not uncommon, given its government ownership. However, the cost-effectiveness, with rates under US$50 per day for a hospital room, makes it a competitive choice compared to the private hospitals in Belize, which charge around $500 per day.

Belize has seven other public hospitals, including three regional ones: Southern Regional Hospital in Dangriga, Northern Regional Hospital in Orange Walk Town, and Western Regional Hospital in the capital, Belmopan. The public hospitals cover basic medical specialties, and Karl Heusner Memorial offers additional services like neurology, ENT, physiotherapy, and orthopedic surgery. The quality of these facilities varies, with Karl Heusner Memorial being well-equipped but facing challenges such as shortages and political influence.

The Western Regional Hospital in Belmopan is considered the next best after Karl Heusner Memorial, having undergone renovations and expansions over its almost 30-year existence. It provides efficient services with its four operating theaters, dental clinic, and computerized health records system. Other public hospitals like the Southern Regional Hospital in Dangriga are modern and equipped with advanced medical technologies, while some, like the Northern Regional Hospital in Orange Walk, face infrastructure and equipment limitations.

Corozal Town Hospital is often criticized, leading residents to seek medical attention across the border in Mexican facilities. Additionally, several small medical clinics, including one resembling a small hospital, operate on Ambergris Caye. Belize’s network comprises around 60 public health clinics and rural health posts, providing primary medical and dental care, though they often suffer from staffing and resource shortages.


In addition to public facilities, Belize has three private hospitals: La Loma Luz, run by the Seventh Day Adventist mission; Belize Medical Associates in Belize City; and Universal Health Services, also in Belize City. These private hospitals cater to around 100 hospital beds and are favored by the Belize elite for their higher cadre of doctors and advanced equipment.

Dentists and medical doctors in Belize earn well, especially if they specialize in fields like orthopedic dentistry, gastroenterology, internal medicine, or cardiology. The cost of dental procedures in Belize is approximately half that of North America, making it an attractive option. Most private medical institutions in Belize accept medical insurance plans.

Despite the availability of healthcare in Belize, the relatively high cost prompts many Belizeans and expats to seek more affordable medical and dental care in Chetumal (Mexico) and Melchor-Flores (Guatemala). Physicians and dentists in Belize receive training from the U.K., Cuba, U.S., Guatemala, and Mexico, with some offshore medical schools in the country. While many healthcare professionals go abroad for specialized treatment, others prefer to go to the U.S., particularly Houston, Miami, New Orleans, or other American cities, if they can afford it.

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