“Put your cell phones down…” Minister Roopnaraine urge new Batch of doctors

DPI, Guyana, Thursday, August 31, 2017

Thirty-Eight (38) Medical Doctors who have spent the last six years in Cuba studying have now graduated. The ceremony which was hosted by the Department of Public Service, Ministry of the Presidency was held at the National Cultural Centre on Wednesday August 30, 2017.

At the graduation, feature speaker, Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine, Minister of Public Service, took the opportunity to demand the best level of patient-centred care from the new doctors.

(Seated from left to right) Dr. Tatianna Garcia Telles, Head of the Cuban Medical Brigade and Dean of the Medical Faculty, Hon. Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine Minister of Public Service, Hon. Carl Greenidge Prime Minister (ag) and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Dr. George Norton Minister of Social Cohesion, H.E Julio César González Marchante Cuban Ambassador to Guyana and Dr. Shamdeo Persaud, Chief Medical Officer, Ministry of Public Health.

Minister Roopnaraine charged the Doctors to be more sensitive to the concerns of their patients. “Each of you began life as a medical student-doctor in the age of information technology. Your greatest challenge as a newly minted doctor in this information age will be to put your cell phone down, look up from its glowing screen and that will let you see your patient’s downward stares that tell you their deepest personal secrets.”

The minister also reflected on the scholarship programme of which the doctors are beneficiaries.

“Today’s batch of graduands are beneficiaries of a bilateral agreement that was signed in 2000. These scholarships were awarded over a seven-year period and todays graduands, 38 in number will join more than 500 graduates from this programme.” Minister Roopnaraine explained.

Dr. Roopnaraine further detailed that since 1979, Guyanese have benefitted from medical education provided by the Cuban government. These persons have since had the opportunity to specialise and continue to serve the people of Guyana in various specialties.

“The first medical student who graduated from the university of Havana in Cuba in 1979 was Dr. Richard Van West Charles, former Minister of Health…. Some of those persons are still serving here in Guyana such as Dr. Leslie Carter, former Regional Health Officer from the second batch, Dr. Edward Segala, Dr. Henry Jefferey, Dr. Terry Joseph and the current Minister of Social Cohesion, Dr. George Norton, all specialists in General Medicine, Orthopedics and Ophthalmology.” The minister highlighted.

Ambassador of Cuba to Guyana, His Excellency Julio César González Marchante, added that his country’s contribution to the Caribbean’s human resource development will continue in spite of challenges the country might have faced over the years.

“Cuba deeply recognises the commitment of the government not only to continue but to strengthen the fraternal relation between our countries. Also, we share common purposes like to strengthen our Caribbean community of nations.”

Valedictorian of the graduating batch of 2017, Dr. Inderjeet Ramdas thanked the government for making it possible for young men and women to continue to pursue their dreams and aspirations of becoming medical doctors.

“I would like to say thank you to the government of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana for inking the Cuban scholarship programme and for ensuring that the friendship and solidarity of the two countries grow so that the historic vision of education continues.” The Valedictorian noted.

He further encouraged his fellow batchmates to now step up and work towards improving the overall health sector. “From now we can no longer blame the misfortunes on the system, we have become part of it and must work diligently to make that system better. As we disperse I know that we will improve the health outcome of the entire community and that demands celebration.”

The Doctors, inclusive of six nationals from Tanzania, Malaysia, Belize, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and St. Kitts and Nevis took the Hippocratic oath which was administered by the Chief Medical Officer (CMO)of the Ministry of Public Health in Guyana, Dr Shamdeo Persaud.


By: Delicia Haynes

Dr. Inderjeet Ramdas, Valedictorian, Guyana-Cuba Medical Scholarship programme, graduating batch of 2017.

Hon. Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine, Minister of Public Service while delivering the feature address.