Prime Minister Freundel Stuart as he addressed the University of the West Indies Medical Alumni Association’s 10th Reunion and Scientific Conference at the Accra Beach Hotel.??

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, is calling for specialist programmes to be offered in areas such as cardiology and nephrology, to meet the needs of local and regional patients who look to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for high-quality care.

He made this appeal recently while addressing the University of the West Indies’ (UWI) Medical Alumni Association’s 10th Reunion Medical Conference.?? It was held at the Accra Beach Resort, Worthing, Christ Church.

Mr. Stuart reasoned that addressing these deficits in health care were critical in light of the continued demands to send patients abroad for medical treatment.

Regarding an investment of?? approximately $1/2 million to train one medical practitioner, the Prime Minister lamented that of the 7 000 graduates produced by the UWI, half of those persons had emigrated during the 20-year span from the 1960’s to 1980’s for specialised postgraduate training.

What was even more disconcerting Mr. Stuart said was the fact that this exodus had contributed to a loss of skills in the region, when the doctors opted not to return to give back to their homeland.

Given this situation, he lauded the UWI for the development of postgraduate programmes to keep the doctors within the region. "Our governments are now better positioned to reap the rewards of massive expenditure on the training of doctors and building the skills-mix in the health sector…,"???? the Prime Minister maintained.

Regarding the provision of continued training of medical practitioners, Mr. Stuart pointed out that the Medical Provision Bill Legislation, which was read at the Tuesday, November 17 sitting of Parliament, would assist in this regard.

"This legislation is intended to ensure, inter alia, that continuing education is a sine qua non for re-registration of medical practitioners in statutorily prescribed circumstances.?? Continuing medical education will, therefore, enable our medical practitioners to be up-to-date on the latest techniques in medicine.?? It would also encourage evidence-based practices," he noted.

During the official opening ceremony, a number of awards were presented to medical staff and students.?? Among the awardees were Professor Henry Fraser who received the Continuing Medical Education Award; Dr. Clive Fraser who accepted the Dean’s Award for outstanding teaching for over 30 years; while Dr. Uma Gaur was the recipient of the Dean’s Appreciation Award.

In the Student Awards Category, Dr. Shabier St. John received the Merck Sharpe and Dohme Prize for attaining the highest mark in the final medicine examination at the UWI; while Dr. Martha Ramirez-Torres copped the Lionel Stuart Prize for Best Overall Performance in Surgery and the Arnott Cato Foundation Medical Student of the Year Prize for best overall performance in the final MB, BS examinations.

Dr. Katrina Best was awarded the Harley Mosley Prize for the best candidate in Anaesthesia Clerkship, and Dr. Basil Thorpe copped the Barbados Association of Psychiatrists Prize.??

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