Health sector welcomes 70 new doctors – President underscores importance of an educated population

Georgetown, GINA, August 10, 2013

President Donald Ramotar this evening emphasised that natural resources alone cannot develop a country, as the most important factor for development is the quality of the people. He was at the time delivering an address at the first convocation ceremony for 70 Cuban-trained Guyanese doctors at the Guyana International Conference Center (GICC), Liliendaal.

President Donald Ramotar delivering his address at the convocation ceremony for the 70 new Cuban trained doctors at the Guyana International Conference Center (GICC), Liliendaal

The young doctors have successfully completed their internship at various health institutions across the country, including the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) and the Leonora, Suddie, West Demerara, New Amsterdam, and Mahaicony hospitals. They are now equipped to be stationed at these facilities to provide the much needed health services to citizens.

He said that from the time of the Cuban revolution in 1959, the Spanish-speaking country has set a precedent for cooperation and friendly bilateral relations of peoples of the Americas and internationally. He noted that fundamentally, Cuba saw the importance of developing human capital.

“If you look around the world at some of the countries that are developing the fastest,  and those that are already developed, you would find one common factor and that is a highly educated population and workforce,” President Ramotar said.

Guyana is one of the few countries in the region in which more than 30 percent of the national budget is spent on the social sector. The President explained that it is areas such as health, education, and housing and water that impact the lives of people the most.

 

“We believe in the development of the human capital, but living in a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural society, it is important that we give equal opportunity to every citizen and the best way to do that is to enhance the human capital,” the Head of State of said.

President Donald Ramotar presenting a certificate to the best graduating doctor, Timothy Morgan

The social sector is linked to the economic sector and as it stands now, the health sector is at the pivot, and if Guyana is going to build its economy, then a healthy workforce is absolutely necessary, the President stated.

He told the doctors that they should not only focus on curing illnesses, but also on prevention, as such they have a role to play as educators to teach citizens to live healthy lives.

“If you as young doctors can be an example, be a role model for our young people; allow them to understand what harm they do to themselves when they get involved in so many anti-social activities; if they are aware of the dangers of these things, it can be reduced drastically,” he said.

He reminded too, that Guyanese are equally important and deserve the best services; as such, if during their stint, they are posted to remote areas, they should see themselves as having the opportunity to deliver services to people who probably need it the most.

Minister Ramsaran in his remarks spoke of the overall vision for the health sector in which these new young doctors will play a critical role. He expressed Government’s appreciation to the Cuban Government for the assistance that has seen Guyana benefiting significantly over the years.

Minister Ramsaran said that each doctor must learn to be a team leader since they will be part of a dynamic sector that has been resourced more and more over the years by the Administration.

“This is going to be a quantum leap in our capacity to deliver health care services in this country…we are going to create a cadre of Guyanese specialists, that is where you will come in. We are working to introduce to Guyana, post-graduate programmes in certain key disciplines that a country like ours need,” the Health Minister disclosed.

The Ministry will soon be launching a health and wellness club, the “Wellness Warriors” that will consist of young people who will reach out to patients who, for many reasons, may be unable to visit a health institution.

 

He reminded the doctors of their obligations now that their training is over and said that the investment made in their specialisation is the result of a sacrifice of two developing countries and will lead to Guyanese citizens enjoying a better quality of life.

From left- Minister of Health, Dr. Bheri Ramsaran, President Donald Ramotar, Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, Cuban Ambassador, Raul Gortazar Marrero and Chief Medical Officer, Dr Shamdeo Persaud with the new batch of Cuban-trained doctors

Cuban Ambassador, Raul Gortazar Marrero said that this convocation ceremony marks a significant achievement for the relationship between Cuba and Guyana. He urged the doctors to work diligently and stand firm in the face of the many challenges that they may be confronted with as they go off to different parts of the country to render their services to people.

He also said that as doctors, they should never be satisfied with the knowledge that they possess and should continue to do research and strive to perfect their skills.

Meanwhile, Teaching Director of the Cuban Medical Brigade in Guyana, Dr. Manuel Osorio said that these 70 new doctors are capable of treating more than 100 health problems.

In 2001, former President Bharrat Jagdeo during a three-day working visit to Cuba, where he met with former President Fidel Castor, managed to secure scholarships in various disciplines. These include: Medicine, Mechanical Engineering, Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Culture, Sport, Agriculture, and Architecture among others. At that time Guyana was experiencing a shortage of doctors.

While the scholarships were granted by the Cuban Government, the Government of Guyana has also invested in passage for the students to travel to and from that country, and has provided a monthly stipend of US$100 to each student.

 

Only recently, about 200 doctors returned from Cuba after completing their training there and will soon commence their internship.

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