NASSAU, The Bahamas — Newly inducted graduates of the University of the West Indies’ School of Clinical Medicine and Research (Bahamas Campus) were Monday challenged to embrace working in the public healthcare sector by considering launching their new medical careers in any one of the Family Islands in need of additional specialist care.
Addressing the Annual Induction Ceremony and Graduation Exercise of the UWI School of Clinical Medicine and Research, The Bahamas, Minister of Health Dr. the Hon. Hubert A. Minnis told the nation’s newest physicians that every Bahamian should have access to specialist primary, public healthcare.
“You should not confine your knowledge and treatment to persons living on the island of New Providence only, while fellow Bahamians have to wait for the doctor who is in the next settlement to come to provide specialist care,” Dr. Minnis told the graduates.
“Understanding that while your ethics instructs you to ‘Do No Harm’, you have an obligation to move beyond that – to give back to the Bahamian people in greater measure than what you received,” Dr. Minnis added.
The Health Minister said healthcare issues are influenced to a great degree by social determinants and lifestyle choices and that those who are “privileged to join the primary and public healthcare providers” will be responsible for helping to reverse the growing burden of non-communicable diseases.
He said he saw the new physicians as “change agents” who can transform healthcare, to make it more accessible and affordable – particularly within the Family Islands.
“You can assist in combining information with high quality counselling to help patients understand the potential risks, benefits and uncertainties of clinical options when making the choice that best accommodates their personal style,” Dr. Minnis said.
“I see you as providers of a more patient-focused delivery system that creates greater value and better health for all patients within the Commonwealth of The Bahamas,” Dr. Minnis added.
Dr. Minnis said public healthcare is provided in 83 clinics on the Family Islands, 10 in New Providence and through the three tertiary institutions of the Public Hospitals Authority, two in New Providence (Princess Margaret Hospital and Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre) and the Rand Memorial Hospital in Freeport, Grand Bahama.
He said the new physicians can “give back to society” by embracing working in the public healthcare sector at clinics on islands “from Inagua in the south to Grand Bahama in the north.”
“We in the Ministry of Health are always mindful of all of the people we are here to serve and we are determined that the healthcare that we take for granted in New providence, is made available to everyone living in the Family Islands as well. All residents need access to quality healthcare,” Dr. Minnis said.
“Let me challenge all of you to dedicate yourselves to the service of the patients whom you will commit to serve,” Dr. Minnis added.
Twenty doctors graduated from the programme Monday night bringing the total number of graduates to 200 since the establishment of the Bahamas Campus 14 years ago.
The Health Minister applauded Programme Director Dr. Robin Roberts for what Dr. Minnis called his “dedication to medical academia” and for his contribution to medical education within The Bahamas and the region.
Dr. Minnis said the collaboration between the Government of The Bahamas and the University of the West Indies has also allowed for more Bahamians to graduate as medical practitioners from the programme.
“Fourteen years ago, clinical training was made a reality in The Bahamas for UWI-educated physicians based upon that partnership between the Government of The Bahamas and the University of the West Indies,” Dr. Minnis said.
“The establishment of this institution, at home, was a great milestone in Bahamian history as it had great economic impact on our students who would have otherwise had to travel abroad to complete their studies,” Dr. Minnis added.
By Matt Maura
Bahamas Information Services