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Guyana becoming “hub” for Cuban-trained Caribbean doctors; more specialists to be trained

Last Updated on Saturday, 14 June 2014, 19:01 by GxMedia

Health Minister Dr. Bheri Ramsaran (inset) addressing members of the Cuban Medical Brigade at their 10th Scientific Conference that was held at the Grand Coastal Inn, Le Resouvennir, East Coast Demerara.

Caribbean nationals being trained in medicine are expected to complete their final year of training in Guyana, Health Minister Dr. Bheri Ramsaran said Saturday.

Addressing the opening of the 10th Scientific Conference by the Cuban Medical Brigade, he announced that Guyana would use the 170 Cuban doctors, nurses, technicians and administrators to create a “hub” for the training of Caribbean nationals.

“It has positioned Guyana to become a hub for the Caribbean. We now have Caribbean nationals, who were trained in Cuba, wanting to come to Guyana to complete their sixth year. We have actually opened the doors to that in a structured manner,” he said.

The Minister said already two Barbadians have taken advantage of the opportunity and there were numerous other applications.

Ramsaran also announced that Guyana’s hospitals would be opening doors to Cuban-trained doctors from other Caribbean countries to allow them to practice the first year of their profession alongside their Cuban professors to acquire experience.  “We are forging unity at a people-to-people basis,” he said.

Guyana intends to eventually scale back its dependence on Cuban, Chinese and Indian specialists by having a number of Cuban-trained Guyanese doctors pursue postgraduate studies in surgery, orthopedics, obstetrics and gynecology, disability and rehabilitation, pediatrics and psychiatry.  Noting that most of the other areas of specialization would require infrastructure such as imaging and laboratories, the Health Minister said that the immediate emphasis would be on training mental health specialists in psychiatry and psychology. Already, 10 Cuban-trained Guyanese have been identified to pursue such training by a Cuban psychiatrist and Guyanese Dr. Bhairo Harry.

The Health Minister also announced that Guyana would be reducing the number of Cuban nurses and replacing them with specialists in a number of areas.

With the pool of Cuban professionals here, he hoped that Guyana would also create a “solid base for research.” “The Guyanese research agenda especially in health is weak because we didn’t have that cadre, that national pool of intelligentsia in the health sector to push it,” he said.

In recent years, at least 300 Guyanese have been trained in medicine free of cost through the Cuban scholarship programme.