A batch of Cuba-trained doctors, on Saturday, August 25, 2018, was sworn into the medical profession. These doctors underwent six years of theoretical training in Cuba after which they would have completed one year internship in Guyana.
Among the graduates, four were from St. Kitts and Nevis, three from Antigua and St. Lucia and one from Malaysia. While the Guyanese and other Caribbean state graduates were eager to serve their home countries, the lone Malaysian has excitedly indicated her interest in remaining in Guyana and serving.
Dr Marlene Raphael, a Malaysian, said she has enjoyed her period of internship in Guyana and is keeping her fingers crossed for the opportunity to provide medical service to Guyanese through the public health system.
She noted that initially the plan, as instituted by scholarship agreement, was to submit herself to learning then to return to her home country and help in the building and sustaining of her home country’s health sector. However, she has since decided to render her services further afield.
“It’s been an amazing experience in both Cuba and Guyana and I am really thankful to both the Governments of Cuba and Guyana for giving me this opportunity. For now, I have graduated, I really enjoyed my stay here and I am hoping to continue working here if God is willing,” Dr Raphael noted.
The newly-minted medical graduate, who aspires to specialise in Gynaecology, has noted the difference between the healthcare systems in the two countries. “Switching systems, coming from Cuba which is a completely government-run healthcare system to coming to Guyana and seeing the differences how the public system merges with the private healthcare, it’s been an interesting contrast… something I have learnt is that public health is really the cornerstone of any health care system.”
Dr Raphael hopes to be granted time to work in Guyana to be a part of the modernising of the local health care system.
Meanwhile, Dr Sodavie Naraine, the Valedictorian of the 2018 graduating batch of doctors, reflected that she has willed herself to be trained in this area in order to return to Guyana and serve.
Dr Naraine, like colleague Dr Raphael, has embraced the charge of service which lies ahead and encouraged her colleagues to be the best at what they have been trained to do. She remarked to her colleagues that this is just the beginning of the journey to becoming great medical professionals.
“We should ask ourselves constantly, what are we doing to better ourselves,” Dr. Narine explained adding that, “we (doctors) shouldn’t get accustomed to the sufferings of the patient, instead we should treat every patient with compassion and in the end, we should be able to relieve the pain, suffering and anxiety of the population in general.”
The graduation ceremony was held at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC) Liliendaal, Guyana.
Officials representing the Cuban Government, Ministry of Presidency’s Department of Public Service and the Ministry of Public Health, all attended the brief ceremony which saw the review of the batch’s period of study.
Also, the ceremony saw remarks from Guyana’s Ambassador to Cuba, Halim Majeed, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr Karen Boyle and Vincent Alexander who gave the feature address on behalf of the Public Service Minister, Dr Rupert Roopnaraine.
The newly accredited doctors were reminded to display humility as they take up the mantle of senior health professionals. Further, they were encouraged to take advantage of Continuing Medical Education sessions which will contribute to their professional development.
Moreover, the doctors were reminded of their responsibility to communicate with their patients and always be cognisant of the fact they are not just preventing or curing an illness or medical abnormality but rather they are actually saving lives.