Health ministry working towards attaining more speech therapists, audiologists

As Guyana continues to expand its health services, the Ministry of Health is working towards acquiring more speech therapists and audiologists in the country.

This was revealed by Speech and Language Therapist, Sonia Fredericks, during a recent interview, posted on the ministry’s Facebook page.

With May being celebrated as ‘Better Hearing and Speech Month’ Fredericks explained that the aim of the speech and audiologist department is to bring awareness and to encourage persons to be part of the profession.

“Presently in Guyana, we only have eleven speech and language therapists that are serving the entire country. Ten of these speech and language therapists are in Georgetown, so that means all the other regions do not have a speech and language therapist.”

Even though there is a limited number of persons in the regions, tasks relating to the field are done by rehabilitation assistants, who are trained in certain aspects of the work.

Moreover, to facilitate the two professions, the Medical Rehabilitation-Bachelor of Sciences in Speech-Language Therapy and Audiology Programme at the University of Guyana will soon recommence.

According to Fredericks, due to the one programme focusing on the two professions, persons who complete the course will be at an advantage of choosing to be part of either and are assured of employment.

Fredericks is one of three health workers who have recently benefitted from the ‘Managerial and Supervisorial’ training, which falls under a course called, “Internship in Clinical Education: A Practicum in Speech-Language Pathology Supervision.”

The course was done at San José State University in San José, California, for the practicum, and in Charleston, South Carolina, and ran from April 13 to the 28 and was facilitated by Dr Gloria Weddington, a Professor of Communicative Disorders and Sciences at the same university.

With this training, the participants will be able to supervise the course at the University of Guyana, so that the health sector can be further expanded.

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