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Howard University medical team focusses on non-communicable diseases

Phillip Omohundro, M.D. Chariman of HUHMA Board of Directors, Phillip Omohundro chatting with US Ambassador to Guyana, Brent Hardt and Guyana’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr Shamdeo Persaud.

A team of American doctors is here to exchange strategies and techniques in the fight against non-communicable diseases (NCDs) regarded as a leading causing of death in Guyana and the Caribbean.

“The focus of this medical exchange on non-communicable diseases could not be more timely or relevant, for we have made strides in addressing communicable diseases, NCDs have emerged as the leading threat to people in Guyana and the broader Caribbean,” said United States Ambassador to Guyana, Brent Hardt.

He was at the time speaking at a reception in honour of the visiting doctors under the aegis of the Howard University Hospital Medical Association (HUHMA). They are here for a January 16-21 symposium under the theme “Current Concepts in Health Care – 2014”.

The American envoy singled out the need to foster healthier lifestyles as one of the most urgent challenges facing health care practitioners in the Caribbean. “I am confident that through exchanges such as this, our countries can continue to strengthen our professional relationships and advance our goal,” Hardt added.

The presence of the HUHMA team has come less than one month after Guyana launched its Strategic plan for the Integrated Prevention and Control of Chronic NCDs and their risk factors strategy 2013-2020.

Globally, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and chronic respiratory diseases are responsible for the deaths of about 36 million people annually due to poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking and excessive alcohol intake.

Guyana-born physician, Dr. David Gooray has been lobbying HUHMA for a long time to dispatch a team to his native land. “As a Guyanese you always want to do something that not only get folks exposed to Guyana but to get involved in benefitting,” said Ghoray who hails from Anna Regina.

Psychiatrist, Dr. Patricia Fair-Boot would be focussing on nutrients in medicine. She observed that while Guyana has the personnel it suffered other deficiencies in. “I think you all have a lot of people who are skilled but you don’t have the medical supplies and medicines that you might need to help,” she said.  Fair-Boot preferred a return to natural remedies than conventional medicine some of which she said could contribute to renal failure.