Boosting the pillars of health systems – 20 scholarships to be awarded to community health workers

DPI, Guyana, Wednesday, November 08, 2017

A country’s health system is vital to its population wellbeing. Accordingly, Guyana will be awarding 20 scholarships to regional health workers next year. This move will see the further developing of a strong foundation in the health care system starting with those at the first level – the community workers.

Minister within the Ministry of Public Health Dr. Karen Cummings.

The announcement was made by Minister within the Ministry of Public Health Dr. Karen Cummings, at the second Regional Health Officers meeting for 2017, being held at the Lake Mainstay Resort

According to Dr. Cummings, her ministry’s national priority is the improvement of the public health care system. She emphasised the main focus is on “strategic approaches to improve safety, effectiveness, patient care, timing, efficiency, equitability and accessibility of the best quality healthcare practices and facilities across Guyana.” To this end, training and proper qualification of community-level workers is an absolute for development.

The World Bank has agreed to fund 40 scholarships for Guyana and Suriname, in collaboration with Tulane University. Some 20 will be allotted to Guyanese health personnel. Minister Cummings explained that this administration has been working to ensure that persons have a career path, and are in a better position to manage the region. The scholarships will be majors in public health and business administration.

(from left to right) Emil McGarrell, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Communities, Minister within the Ministry of Public Health Dr. Karen Cummings, Colette Adams, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Public Health and Director of Regional Health Services Dr. Kay Shako sitting at the head table at the opening ceremony for the Regional Health Conference (from left to right).

Meanwhile, the four-day conference will see the medical body delivering health updates from the various regions, and deliberating on issues such as the procurement of drugs, and budget and financing for regional development.

Director of Regional Health Services Dr. Kay Shako echoed the Minister noting that effective training and systems have to be implemented for the development of the nation’s health sector.

For 2017, several capacity building programmes were conducted including emergency ultrasound training; meetings on budget preparations; training within the regions to target specific areas in the individual regions; the establishing of a scholarship committee, and a procurement department; placement of specialist across the hinterland district which has seen a “reduction in maternal, infant deaths and overall improvements,” in Regions 7 and 9; and focused supervisory visits to hospital across the country.

Dr. Shako told the regional body that, “though the process may take a while, the systems put in place will ensure efficiency for years to come”.

Regional health officials at the opening of the Regional Health Conference 2017.

Being cognisant of the need for regional bodies to assist in the development of the nation, the Ministry of Communities has collaborated with the Ministry of Public Health to host this conference. Emil McGarrell, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Communities noted, “We at the ministry are convinced services should be provided at the ground level, if we are able to do this then we can start the development of this country.”

McGarrell said that the conference will be able to determine if the systems implemented have been effective, and what are some of the challenges that need to be addressed. He also gave assurances of his ministry’s commitment to Guyana’s development.

Minister Cummings promised the realisation of a strengthened and improved health care system, and urged community workers nationwide to “work collectively in order to raise public healthcare, and build public trust.”


By: Zanneel Williams


COVID-19 Alert!

Coronavirus disease spreads primarily through contact with an infected person when they cough or sneeze. It also spreads when a person touches a surface or object that has the virus on it, then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth. We urge citizens to practice good hygiene and social or physical distancing also adhere to the guidelines provided by the Ministry of Health, Guyana.