…as batch of 36 to take part in 4-year programmeSome 36 medical practitioners took part in a ceremony on Monday to officially launch their four-year Medex training programme; while there, they were warned, among other things, of the need to “not get pregnant” during the training.Programme Coordinator, Medex training programme, Medex Sarah DanielsHowever, some have already expressed concern about discrimination against women trainee medex, who may want to start a family during this period.In her address to the students, Coordinator of the Medex programme, Sarah Daniels urged students to remain focused on their goals. She outlined several expectations that come with taking part in the programme.“Students should not get pregnant during the course of the study,” Daniels explained. “For the students, remember you are all here to achieve one goal, despite wherever you came from…”“Spending four years developing a career, for some of you being away from your home, your customs and your loved ones, will not be easy. But I assure you, the sacrifices of today will definitely pay off tomorrow.”It would not be the first-time public servants have been warned against pregnancy, with some women at times facing dismissal. In 2015, the issue reared its head when three City Constables were fired after they became pregnant during their two-year probation.As recent as February of this year, Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Chief-of-Staff, Brigadier Patrick West drew criticism from sections of society when he reportedly expressed concern about female soldiers getting pregnant “every year.”Be preparedMeanwhile, Daniels also stressed the need for students to be punctual and professional, conducting themselves in a proper manner at all times and wearing uniform when on duty. In addition, students must possess honesty and a consistent pass mark above 60 per cent.Other expectations, according to Daniels, are that the Medex be psychologically prepared to serve their respective communities when the training is completed. She explained further what this training entails.“The Medex programme has two pathways. The first one is the traditional pathway, which is an 18-month programme. The second is an alternative pathway, which is 42 months. The students of 2018-2022 represent that alternative pathway. The present Medex curriculum consists of a four-year programme that has two phases.’“The first phase has basic nursing and midwifery skills lasts two years. And of course, the students are all asked that they must pass this two years before they go into the third and fourth year, which is the comprehensive clinical skills and that lasts for two years.”The Medex were reminded that they are expected to provide level two healthcare services, including preventative treatment of simple illnesses. The Medex were drawn from all over Guyana, including Regions Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni), Eight (Potaro-Siparuni) and Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo).“Based on the needs assessment, priority was given to the hinterland regions. In addition, assistance was sought from the Regional Health Officers. After an intensive interview process, 37 students were selected for the Medex class,” She revealed, adding that one student subsequently dropped out.Meanwhile, Public Health Minister Volda Lawrence also delivered an address to the attendees. In it, she impressed upon them the importance of serving and giving back to their communities.“Many days, you will have to persevere… remember the purpose for which you are signing on. Personally, you can reap benefits from being professionally qualified so that you can join the team of public health professionals,” she said.Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr Shamdeo Persaud had words of encouragement for the Medex. He also lauded the proliferation of males in this year’s batch, noting the importance of gender parity.