Medical education provided to Guyanese doctors in Cuba is of a high standard

Dear Editor,

The Medical Council of Guyana notes with regret Freddie Kissoon’s attack on Cuban-trained Guyanese doctors in his Kaieteur News column of November 18 titled ‘Guyanese messengers of death from Cuba have returned’.

The conclusions drawn by Mr Kissoon in his article are untrue and his attacks on young Guyanese doctors and the Cuban system of medical learning, where they were trained, are entirely unjustified.

Following guidelines set out by law, the Council registers all doctors, including those trained in Cuba. It is aware of the contents of the syllabus used to train doctors and is satisfied that the medical education provided to Guyanese doctors in Cuba is of a high standard.

Since Cuba does not have a system of internship training similar to Guyana’s system, all doctors who seek registration after medical education in Cuba undergo an additional 18-month period of supervised rotation before becoming fully registered to practise medicine. During this period of supervised rotation, scrutiny is exercised over the standard and quality of the medical knowledge and the practical medical skills learned by these doctors. They are also graded by heads of department and other senior doctors practising in various medical specialties.

The period of supervised rotation must be completed to the satisfaction of the supervising doctors, some of whom are or have been members of the Council, which is aware of the rigorous nature of the rotation programme and is confident that doctors who successfully complete it are at least competent in the medical knowledge and skills required of a doctor.

The rotation programme serves as an additional learning experience for Cuban-trained doctors and is a comprehensive introduction to medical practice in Guyana under supervised conditions. The Council is aware that, as with every other profession, the competence and experience of junior doctors is enhanced by working under the guidance of more senior colleagues, to whom referrals are made in appropriate cases.

In addition to these safeguards, the Council exercises statutory powers of discipline over any doctor who misconducts him or herself professionally or commits malpractice. If Mr Kissoon is aware of particular instances of misconduct or malpractice, the Council encourages him to cause complaints to be made to it. If this done, each case can be investigated individually on its merits in a manner which is more responsible and effective than a broad, unnecessary and unjustified attack on an entire section of young Guyanese professionals.

Yours faithfully,

Juanita Johnson

Secretary

Medical Council of Guyana

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