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Georgetown, Guyana – (August 1, 2017) Minister of State, Mr. Joseph Harmon, last evening, charged the graduating class of the Rajiv Gandhi University of Science and Technology’s School of Medicine, to be committed to the provision of quality healthcare, wherever they may be called to serve. The Minister was at the time delivering the feature address at the Pegasus Hotel on the occasion of the first Convocation ceremony for the University’s School of Medicine, from which five have graduated.

Speaking before the handing over of certificates, Minister Harmon told the graduands that even as they embark on their journey into the world of work, they must seek to develop the skills they have gained and strive to let each day of their career be better than the day before. Noting that society expects doctors to be role models, Minister Harmon said that it is the duty of every doctor and every other professional to aim for the delivery of high quality services.

As the Government continues to create opportunities for equal access to health, education and social services across the country, the Minister of State noted that they must be willing to serve to the best of their abilities.

The first batch of graduates of the Rajiv Gandhi University of Science and Technology School of Medicine

“I must appeal to you for a commitment to health care delivery in the context of our national policy. A key element of Government’s policy on health care is equal delivery of all services across Guyana; to all villages and communities in the most remote parts of Guyana on the coastland and in the hinterland. We need doctors, who do not flinch or baulk when assigned to these remote areas in our rural countryside or hinterland. This is the spirit and approach that we must adopt to enable us to provide a good life for all of our people,” he said.

The Minister also encouraged the graduands to commit themselves to selfless and dedicated service as enshrined in the Hippocratic Oath, which every doctor is expected to take as he noted that they must strive to make positive contributions in their every undertaking.

“As we celebrate Emancipation Day, you have taken the step to as Bob Marley said, “Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our minds.” Be a part of your communities beyond your own workplace. Be good citizens full time, all the time and do not be lured and fooled by quick fixes. Your just completed training would have taught you that nothing good comes easy and profession that you have chosen eschews quick fixes. Never forget that medicine is an art as well as a science to be practiced by you as doctors and researchers and that you should bring that practice not only technology and training but also your humanity, caring and concern,” he encouraged.

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Minister of Education, Ms. Nicolette Henry presents one of the graduating students with his certificate.

Meanwhile, the Minister said that the Government of Guyana remains committed to providing an enabling environment in which institutions such as the Rajiv Gandhi University of Science and Technology can deliver quality tertiary education and training.

Minister within the Ministry of Public Health, Dr. Karen Cummings, in her remarks, echoed similar sentiments, noting that the medical profession is a noble one and as such, the best possible standards must be adhered to in the process of administering healthcare services.

“In your service to humanity and as you graduate and enter the world of work, it is important that you put into practice all that you have learnt over the years. Now you stand on the threshold of greatness that will give you a title that will place a great sense of responsibility on your shoulders. From here on you will be the ones chartering your own course in life and how you are perceived in life will be as a result of your actions and in some cases, your inactions. I urge you as a medical doctor to give of your best and ensure that at all times, that you uphold this noble profession, maintain high standards for yourself and colleagues,” she said.

Dr. Cummings said told the graduands that their entry into the medical field could not come at a more opportune time, as the Government continues to embark on numerous programmes aimed at further strengthening the public health system so as to deliver the best quality healthcare possible to the citizens.

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Minister within the Ministry of Public Health, Dr. Karen Cummings delivering her remarks at the event

“The Ministry of Public Health is trying to make universal primary healthcare a reality in Guyana by 2020. I urge you, as you take the Hippocratic Oath, honour it, live it. Let the patient be the centre as doctors. Patients need a physician who not only offers great knowledge and skill in the advances of medical technology but your humanity, genuine care and authentic concern. Professionalism, high ethical standards and compassion should forever remain the driving forces propelling you forward,” Dr. Cummings noted.

She further encouraged them to keep expanding their horizons through education and training so that they can become specialised in their fields of work.

Minister of Education, Ms. Nicolette Henry, who also delivered brief remarks, said that the role of a doctor, just like an educator, cannot be overestimated. She also spoke on the significance the work the University is doing.

“This is a significant step in enhancing two critical sectors, health and education and Government cannot do it alone and indeed Government should not. A balance has to be made between Government services and private sector services particularly health and education. I would like to sound my congratulations and gratitude for your commitment to this noble profession. I urge you to help as much as you can and do no harm,” she said.

Vice Chancellor of the University, Dr. Sherlock Peter Rawana, in his remarks, encouraged the students to return to their communities and villages and serve as he noted that true success can be found in one’s ability to inspire and motivate others.

“You have studied hard and tonight you can see that you have achieved that dream. Being a doctor doesn’t meant that you will stop studying. You must become specialists and when you have studied and achieved what you wanted to achieve, I want you to go back to your communities and be a role model for the youths of your communities. Wherever you go or whatever you become, I hope that one day you can come back to your country and serve,” he said.

Valedictorian, Mr. Abid Ally, who hails from East Berbice-Corentyne (Region Six) said that he will endeavour to use his profession to not only touch lives but also leave a legacy of care and humanity.

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