A total of sixteen residents have graduated as Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) Basic level, following a rigorous five-month training program at the Emergency Medicine Training Centre, situated at American University of Antigua (AUA) College of Medicine. The initiative was spearheaded by Minister of Health, John Maginley in conjunction with principals of AUA.

At a recent graduation ceremony, AUA’s VP of Academic Affairs & Executive Dean and Director of the EMT program Dr. Peter Bell said the program, while adhering to international standards, was tailored to suit the local environment. “The challenge for local EMTs is greater due to the islands infrastructure. We, therefore, have to train our ambulance personnel to deal with the situation on the ground, where it arises, with no immediate back-up.” According to Dr. Bell, EMTs are a crucial link in the rescue chain and in a show of confidence for the new graduates.

Dr. Bell also stated, “If something happens to me, I know I will be in safe hands. We at AUA are pleased that we had the opportunity to come together in this joint venture with the government. Hopefully, we can double these numbers in the future.”

Minister Maginley in his feature address said the training program signals government’s commitment to uplift healthcare in the nation and represents a turning point in addressing the shortfall of qualified workers in this field. He indicated that problems initially arose in attracting persons to train as EMTs and sourcing the right training facility.

Hailing the program a great success, Maginley said “This investment in training is going to redound to the benefit of all Antiguans and Barbudans,” adding that, “opportunities for EMT trained personnel are immeasurable”. He indicated his intentions of broadening the program in the future to include the police, coast guard, and teachers among others.

Governor General Dame Louise Lake-Tack congratulated the students on their achievements. She acknowledged the contributions of AUA to the country and expressed her gratitude to them in undertaking the program.

The training program was conducted by AUA faculty member and veteran Emergency Medical Technician instructor Dr. William Cain from the University of Maryland and local EMT instructor Marlon Destin.

The top student award went to Morvin Fiedtkou. Participants were awarded a Certificate of Completion in Basic Emergency Medicine. The students included Rupertia Athill, Esther Armstrong, Tundea Bruce, Morvin Fiedtkou, Vanceroy Gardner, Ann-Marie George, Andrea James, Enrico Julian, Annajette Longhorn, Joanna Otto, Jo-Ann Phillips-Burnett, Dalma Pryce, Leroy John, Elloy Tonge, Isaiah Viville and Carlina Williams.