Govt, UWI wrap up talks on education partnership for NA teaching hospital

– Guyana wants regional degree accreditation at new nursing school in Berbice

Less than one week after announcing that the University of West Indies (UWI) wants to establish a School of Medicine here, the Guyana Government has already tied up the arrangement with the regional institution.
President Dr Irfaan Ali disclosed last week that UWI School of Medicine has approached the Government to be part of the teaching hospital that is being constructed in New Amsterdam, Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne). He had stated that discussions were ongoing on this venture.
However, on Friday, during the commissioning of the world-class training institute at Port Mourant in Berbice, the Head of State revealed that those talks have been wrapped up.
“We have just concluded the arrangement where the University of the West Indies’ School of Medicine will be our education partner here in Berbice, training doctors here in Berbice,” he said.

President Dr Irfaan Ali

In January, the sod was turned for the new US$161 million hospital in New Amsterdam, which will include dedicated buildings for teaching purposes.
The Guyanese Leader had noted previously that the presence of a UWI-recognised School of Medicine in Region Six opens up the possibility of attracting students from neighbouring Suriname and other Caribbean nations. To ensure this happens, President Ali assured that the School of Medicine here would have the same rates as other UWI facilities.
“…Importantly, in the negotiations, we are now working on ensuring that the rates are the same as local students in Trinidad and Tobago, so there will be equity and quality matched together,” he had declared.
Currently, Guyana has its own School of Medicine through the University of Guyana (UG). But the Head of State posited that “…competition is a part of life and a necessity in improving quality”.

Nursing school accreditation
Meanwhile, in addition to the UWI School of Medicine, the Guyana Government is also working on securing degree accreditation from the regional institute for its new nursing school that is also being constructed in Region Six.
President Ali also announced on Friday that Health Minister, Dr Frank Anthony has been tasked with ironing out the arrangements for this initiative.
“Two nights ago, at 11 pm, I had talks again with the University of West Indies School of Nursing and I’ve instructed the Minister of Health, who has been working continuously on this from then to now, to get an agreement with the University of the West Indies to have their nursing programme accredited to the new school of nursing that we’re building in the [East Berbice-Corentyne] region so that the children from Regions Six to 10 who will be doing nursing will be having a University of West Indies nursing degree,” the Head of State indicated.

An artist’s impression of the new US$161 million hospital

The establishment of a UWI School of Medicine in Guyana comes as the Government is investing heavily in enhancing the local healthcare system, to develop a top health-tourism industry in the Caribbean Region.
To achieve this goal, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Administration has been working with international partners in the healthcare industry, including Northwell Health and Mount Sinai Health System – two major United States-based healthcare providers.
While the Government already has several initiatives and collaborations ongoing with the Mount Sinai group, one of the newest projects under this partnership will be the establishment of a world-class forensic facility in Guyana by the end of this year.
The partnership with the New York-based Mount Sinai has already produced some tremendous results. One such collaboration is the digitalisation of the local healthcare system. Mount Sinai has been working with the Health Ministry on conducting an assessment of the local healthcare management information system, and the patient management information system.
Moreover, the Government and Mount Sinai, in collaboration with US-based energy major Hess Corporation, have also rolled out the Comprehensive Child and Youth Health Programme, which aims to screen school-aged children.
Last year, some 11,000 students were screened, with 350 of them accessing post-screening services such as dental examination, hearing and vision examination, screening for development and growth, vaccination and importantly, mental health services. While this screening programme initially targeted nursery children, the Government is planning to expand the initiative this year to screen some 87,000 schoolchildren from various levels.
Another important feature of the modernisation of Guyana’s healthcare system is research and development. Apart from healthcare companies, the Guyana Government is also working with several bilateral partner nations to advance its healthcare system.
“We are very serious about the establishment of a vaccine manufacturing facility in Guyana to service the entire LAC (Latin America and Caribbean) region. We are working with different partners including the EU (European Union), the UK (United Kingdom), and of course, recently, Cuba has reached out to us to partner in this area of vaccine development, and research and development. So, this is another piece of the puzzle that will migrate our healthcare system to a platform in which it will be second to none,” the Guyanese President revealed last week.