– Press Release – Central America is one step closer to having more pediatric healthcare closer to home after the groundbreaking on May 4 of the first Sanford Children’s international clinic. The clinic in Belize City, Belize will open by the summer of 2011. It will provide pediatric care to the growing population and be designed in a castle theme similar to other Sanford Children’s facilities. Belize population is about 320,000 with 160,000 of them children.
“There is clearly a need for additional pediatric care in Belize, and this groundbreaking brings children closer to more healthcare in the region,” stated Dave Link, Sanford Health-MeritCare Senior Executive Vice President. “We are also grateful for our partners in this project. Together, we will improve the health of children in the country.”
Sanford Children’s continues to work with a variety of individuals and organizations in the development and on-going operations of Sanford Children’s Clinic in Belize. This includes, the Belize Healthcare Charitable Trust (BHCT) who recently donated $2 million Belize dollars ($1 million U.S.) to support the clinic. Belize Healthcare Partners Limited, a full-service hospital located in Belize City, is donating land near its facility for the new clinic.
The Sanford Children’s Clinic building will be approximately 9,000 square feet and be shared with Belize Healthcare Partners Limited. The hospital will use its portion of the building for outpatient services for adults.
“We are excited about this project as it will bring additional pediatric services to the children of Belize,” said Vene Venugopal, MD, FACS Medical Director and CEO, Belize Healthcare Partners, Limited.
Sanford Children’s Clinic in Belize will be connected to a comprehensive team of pediatric subspecialists with Sanford Children’s Hospital in Sioux Falls, SD. It is the first international clinic and the second Sanford Children’s World Clinic announced by Sanford Health as part of the initiatives outlined after a $400 million donation from South Dakota businessman and philanthropist Denny Sanford in 2007. A portion of the donation is being used to establish a network of Sanford Children’s World Clinics in underserved communities throughout the world in order to expand access to pediatric care for children who might otherwise go without. Sanford opened its first Sanford Children’s location in Duncan, OK in August 2009 and recently announced plans for a location in Oceanside, CA.
About Sanford Health-MeritCare
Sanford Health & MeritCare consists of two long-standing health systems in the Dakotas who merged in 2009; Sanford Health based in Sioux Falls, SD and MeritCare based in Fargo, ND. The largest rural not-for-profit healthcare system in the nation, Sanford Health & MeritCare serves six states (North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Oklahoma). It includes 30 hospitals with a total of 1,600 beds, as well as more than 800 physicians in numerous clinics in more than 70 specialty areas of medicine. With more than 18,000 employees, Sanford Health & MeritCare is the largest employer in North and South Dakota. For more information, visit www.sanfordmeritcare.com.