Nearly two years after completing the Public Health Ministry’s Medex programme, several graduates are still awaiting employment.
According to a Guyana Times report, there are 25 graduates who successfully completed the four-year training programme in 2015 who are still awaiting placements at health facilities. This situation has persisted despite the students having completed their three-month internship requirement in early 2016.
One of the aggrieved medical personnel explained the group was first promised placements at health centres across the country, almost one year ago.
“After [receiving training between] 2011-2015, they (Public Health Ministry) had us on internship. Afterwards in April 2016, they said we’re gonna start working because we were assigned to the various health centres, who [would be] going to region Eight or Nine,” the student highlighted.
It was further disclosed that their grievances were initially communicated through the then Chief Medex, and Director of Health Sciences and Education Faculty, Public Health Ministry, Wilton Benn.
According to the Guyana Times report, Benn was expected to undertake measures to revise the medex curriculum, to award students with a University qualification.
“The curriculum was supposed to be revised and we were supposed to be accredited by the University of Guyana with an associate diploma. With revising the curriculum, he (Wilton Benn) was supposed to submit it to the University of Guyana. Four years passed during the time of the training and he apparently didn’t revise it,” another frustrated student pointed out.
It was noted that the medex graduates were “promised” that as soon as their training finished, they would commence work.
“We’ve been home over a year; we were supposed to start working and that never happened and we called to find out what’s going on, they gave us different story [saying] that some of the documents already gone up to UG [but] when you called up to UG, there’s nothing there,” this publication was told.
This newspaper however understands that current Public Health Minister Volda Lawrence met with several persons within the University but it is unclear if the students’ concerns were discussed or addressed. The students claim that they made attempts to contact the Minister.
“We asked this year to get an audience with the now Minister of Health, [Volda Lawrence] but we never got through to her office but we got an email saying that she is meeting with the University of Guyana but we still haven’t heard anything,” this publication was told.
Efforts by Guyana Times to contract the Minister on Tuesday proved futile.
This media house was however informed that dialogue with health officials were sought even before Minister Lawrence was transferred to the post. The graduates had met with then Minister, Dr George Norton and Minister within the Ministry, Dr Karen Cummings.
“Everything turned out to be nothing,” one of the students said.
The students have recently sought legal advice in efforts to seek redress for their non-placement.
“Since it’s been a year, [we met] with a lawyer because our contract is nulled as a year is finished, meaning the Government doesn’t have a contract with us anymore. We are trying to work around that but it seems to be in vain too,” this publication was further told.
A delegation of students took their concerns to the Ministry of the Presidency but they were reportedly told at the gates to leave their contact information. The students claim that to date, they have not been contacted. “We called and never got through so everything was like a dead end because everybody is saying that they’re gonna get back to us.”
Earlier this month, several students who graduated from the University’s pharmacy programme had claimed that their lives were at a virtual standstill as they had been waiting for several months to commence their internship programme at the Georgetown Public Hospital. This programme is necessary for those students to obtain their licences to practise their craft.
It is understood that the said programme should have commenced in early January but it was alleged that the Pharmacy Council was unprepared to facilitate the process.