The Heineman Foundation of Charlotte and Atrium Health are enhancing women’s and children’s healthcare in Central America with the installation of much-needed medical equipment, which most recently includes a breast cancer diagnostic unit and a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) in public hospitals in Belize and Guatemala. The units opened last week at Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) in Belize City and at Hospital Regional de Cobán.
These contributions were supported by the first ladies of the respective countries. Belize and Guatemala, Kim Simplis Barrow and Rosa María Leal de Pérez. The diagnostic unit is the first in a Belize public hospital, making mammography and ultrasound services available to thousands at a low or no cost. The unit can screen, diagnose and upload tests for referrals to clinical providers globally. The donation of infant beds, warmers and monitors in Cobán will reduce infant deaths caused in part by overcrowding in the NICU.
The breast cancer diagnostic unit equipment was transported and assembled by Bowen & Bowen and Aramark. The NICU equipment was transported by Chiquita Brands vessels to Guatemala.
“It has been rewarding to contribute to so many exciting medical milestones in Belize and Guatemala,” said Fernando Paiz, vice president of the Heineman Foundation. “We are proud to have worked with Atrium Health for more than four decades on life-changing projects like these, and we look forward to our continued partnership and innovation.”
For over 50 years, the Heineman Foundation has supported hospitals and clinics in over 30 countries with medical equipment and supplies, and with free educational opportunities for medical personnel from facilities worldwide. In Belize and Guatemala, it facilitated the first open heart surgeries, developed robust cardiology and cardiac surgery programs, and equipped primary care clinics and operating rooms, among other care settings.
“It is a privilege to be part of these efforts and help provide much needed medical resources to these countries,” said Michael C. Tarwater, chief executive officer for Atrium Health, at the unit openings. “The establishment of new services at these hospitals reflects their spirit of progress and dedication to the wellbeing of their communities. We look forward to continuing our involvement with medical assistance projects in Central America that make possible the delivery of quality and affordable healthcare throughout the continent.”
In attendance at the openings were: First Lady of Belize, Kim Simplis Barrow; Sub-secretary of the First Lady of Guatemala’s institution, SOSEP, María Coronado; Atrium Health CEO, Michael C. Tarwater; Heineman Foundation vice president, Fernando Paiz; KHMH CEO, Dr. Adrian Coye; Belize Ministry of Health CEO, Dr. Peter Allen; Bowen & Bowen COO, Valerie Schart; Aramark vice president, Kristi McDermott; Mayor of Cobán, Leonel Chacón; Governor of Cobán, Ronald Sierra; and Hospital Regional de Cobán executive director, Dr. Marvin Guitérrez.