Officials on Friday afternoon turned the sod for a modern US$4.9 million College of Medical Sciences building, which will be constructed at the University of Guyana (UG).
The facility will include a lecture theatre to accommodate 200 students, a fully-furnished skills laboratory and various specialized labs, such as anatomy, biochemistry, histology, and hematology.
The college is being built by Chinese company, Shandong Hi-Speed Dejian Group Co and will be supervised by E&A Consultants with funds from the World Bank and the Ministry of Finance. The entire construction process will be live-streamed and will last for some 15 months.
The building will not only serve to allow more persons to study medicine but also provide assurance for the accreditation of the MBBS programme.
This state-of-art building was meticulously designed to offer modern education to train doctors.
Vice Chancellor of UG, Dr Paloma Mohammed-Martin highlighted the critical need, noting that the university rejects eligible medical students annually due to insufficient space.
“It is always heartbreaking to us to have to turn away large numbers of students who are eligible but we don’t have the space, so this building is going to solve one of those problems.
“This project has been long in the making,” the Vice Chancellor added, explaining that the project went through a long design and highly consultative and redesign process.
Education Minister Priya Manickchand echoed similar sentiments and emphasised its timeliness.
She said once completed, the college will not only cater to prospective doctors but also enhance the country’s healthcare sector.
“I would like personally, as a citizen, to be able to rely on the health services in my country and to be able to rely on the training of those who will sit with a stethoscope and tell me what is wrong with me and how I should fix it,” Minister Manickchand said.
She further noted that anything that can be done to improve education and retain more persons in the country, should be “exploited, explored and implemented.”
Meanwhile, Minister of Health Dr Frank Anthony said the government has been rapidly expanding healthcare in Guyana and in order to do that more persons need to be trained.
Despite challenges in retaining healthcare workers, he mentioned plans to further expand the system in the next three to four years, including the construction of several hospitals across the country.