Newly credited CHW to serve Cashew Island community

−First Public Health Care worker to serve the community

DPI, Guyana, Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Mellisa Cornelius, who recently graduated from a Community Health Worker (CHW) training programme in Georgetown is stepping up to the task of serving the residents of Cashew Island in the Corentyne River.

As a Community Health Worker, Mellisa is expected to cater to the primary health care needs of the community including Environmental Health, Maternal and Child Health, managing common illnesses, rendering first aid and most importantly health promotions and awareness.


Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence and Community Health Worker Mellisa Cornelius.

This extremely remote Indigenous community of Cashew Island has never had a Community Health Worker to deliver services and Mellisa is about to be the first. What is amazing is that she hails from Kamarang in the Region Seven.

The newly accredited CHW told DPI she learnt of Cashew Island from her husband who is an officer in the Guyana Defense Force. This small community is located in the New River which is on the border of Guyana and Suriname. The river rises in the Acarai Mountains and flows north-east to the Corentyne River.

“I am so happy to go to Cashew Island and serve as a Community Health Worker. It is wonderful I hear. There ia a lot of fish in the river and people there mainly do farming and the only tribe there is the Trio tribe, they speak Dutch, a little bit of English and their own dialect.”

Her passion to serve the people in that area pushed her to complete the training programme and become a CHW Mellisa explained.

“I never thought I would reach this stage but I’m here today. I am happy to be in the medical field and to be able to help them … I have been passionate about healthcare for a long time, it has been years that I have been trying to apply I never got through but now finally it happened.”

She thanked the Public Health Minister, Hon. Volda Lawrence for ensuring the opportunity to undergo-the six-month training programme was made available to herself and Indigenous young people.

Within recent years, the Ministry of Public Health has intensified the training of Community Health Workers, particularly for youths in Indigenous communities allowing for more young persons to be gainfully employed.

Note: The Trio (or Tarëno or Tïrïyo) are a small indigenous tribe that lives in the border area of Suriname and Brazil. This small group has settled on Cashew Island, located in an area which has been embattled between Suriname and Guyana for claim, a matter which has been put to rest.