New batch of pharmacists takes oath
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The new pharmacists donning  their white coats
The new pharmacists donning their white coats

SOME 24 pharmacists on Saturday evening recited the pharmacist’s oath after donning their white coats and being awarded their licences to practise.

The event known as the White Coats Ceremony for Pharmacy Interns, was held at the Herdmanston Lodge. The newly minted pharmacists have acquired bachelor’s degrees in Pharmacy from the University of Guyana (UG) and served a one-year internship at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC). This is the second batch of pharmacists to undergo a medical training period of one year. As is customary, after being handed their white coats, each pharmacist lit a candle from a single flame borne by Chief Medical Officer Dr Shamdeo Persaud. This, according to the Pharmacy Council, symbolises the transition of leadership from the policy level all the way down to practice.

Speaking on behalf of this batch of pharmacists, Mark Persaud reflected on his time spent as an intern. He shared some of his personal experiences along with others he shared collectively with his colleagues. Persaud expressed confidence that he and his fellow pharmacists will uphold their vow to be ambassadors of the profession.
“I would say, this batch of pharmacists is leaving here determined not to compromise for

mediocrity. This batch is one I see standing firm and adhering to the rules and regulations that govern them and won’t support poor governance from superiors, and won’t compromise with malpractice …. in this healthcare system.”

The new pharmacists as they recite the Pharmacist’s Oath

Persaud boldly declared that the commitment being made by the pharmacists to the health sector, whether locally or otherwise, is one which must be recognised. When it comes to the values of each individual in this batch, Persaud remarked, “I rest assured that we are that batch that will make pharmacists recognised in healthcare for what we are called to do.”

Dr Persaud who delivered the feature address on behalf of the public health minister, outlined the history of the pharmacy profession in Guyana, noting that locally the profession was started by expatriates from the United Kingdom, when the country was still a colony. He explained and said that more widely the profession dates back even further.

“You are now officially joining a noble profession that dates way back… you may not know, but the practice of pharmacy started way back, maybe 2000 years Before Christ, in the Samaritan period. In ancient documents, there are actual records of how it was put together, what was given and the frequency with which it was given.”

The recital of the Pharmacist’s Oath was led by Director of Pharmacy Services, O’Neil Atkins, while the charge was given to the pharmacists by the immediate past chairman of the Pharmacy Council in Guyana, Carl Bacchus; Bacchus encouraged the professionals to emulate the ‘trailblazers’ who went before them, as it is “an exciting journey, but a serious career.”

In 2018, Guyana welcomed 17 clinically trained pharmacists into the fraternity. This is now set to be an annual feature as the University of Guyana continues to educate persons in the field of Pharmacy. Before the pharmacy internship programme was launched in March 2017, persons who had studied the pharmacy theory, went on to practise without hands-on knowledge. Today, those completing the UG programme can benefit from full-time training and practical exposure. Also in attendance was Chairperson of the Pharmacy Council in Guyana, Levante De Santos and Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Gonzalves, preceptors who facilitated this batch of interns and other staff of the GPHC. (DPI)

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