Apr 18, 2018 News
A healthy diet can help to guard against malnutrition as well as non-communicable diseases. This was the observation of Minister within the Ministry of Public Health, Dr. Karen Cummings, as she addressed a ceremony yesterday to launch a dietary programme at the Carnegie School of Home Economics [CSHE] on High Street, Georgetown.
The programme – Nutrition for Dietary Assistant – which will be offered at Carnegie – will commence from September. The two-year programme is being introduced even as the institution celebrates 85 years of offering quality education to Guyanese.
Minister Cummings, who delivered the feature address at the launching ceremony, disclosed that among the top 10 non-communicable diseases that affect Guyanese are diabetes, hypertension and heart failure. According to the Minister, the prevalence of these diseases is partially related to nutrition.
She moreover noted that good nutrition is important for a healthy lifestyle, and went on to add that healthy people are more productive and important to
the further development of Guyana.
As such, she lauded the move by CSHE to recognise the lack of dietary professionals. She underscored too that graduates of the programme will be able to work along with registered dieticians to help improve the health of Guyanese.
Ms. Myrna Lee, the institution’s Principal [ag], who also addressed the forum, said that the programme was the brainchild of outgoing Principal, Ms. Penelope Harris.
Harris, in giving an overview of the programme, affirmed that it is aimed at creating a skilled labour force that will meet the local demand for Dietary Assistants.
The programme is one designed to see students’ participation in training in the areas of Food Safety and Hygiene, Basic Nutrition, Meal Management and Catering, Nutrition in Life Cycle, Food Service Management and General Education, among other courses.
According to Harris, at the end of the programme, graduates will obtain a diploma that will allow them to further their studies at university level. Further, she said that the diploma will qualify them to work in the kitchens of hospitals, hospices, colleges and even universities.
For instance, she explained that “Dietary Assistants will be employed at local hospitals to oversee the preparation of meals for patients in accordance with the direction of a qualified dietician or nutritionist. They are also involved in educating clients on their nutritional requirements.”
The entry level requirements for the programme are: four Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate [CSEC] subjects with grades one to four, inclusive of Mathematics, English, Food and Nutrition and one science subject; or persons over 25 years with experience working in the fields who need to be certified; or successful completion of the one-year Household Management course; or a Caribbean Vocational Qualification [CVQ] Level one in Commercial Food Preparation.
Also speaking at the forum, Mr. Jerry Simpson, Director [ag] of the Council for Technical Vocational Education and Training [CTVET], said that CTVET is responsible for programmes that are offered in post-secondary institutions. Simpson expressed optimism that the programme will be tabled shortly to be awarded a Caribbean Vocational Qualification [CVQ].
Even as he regarded the programme as a bold step and commended its introduction, Simpson disclosed yesterday that CTVET is willing to obtain the services of an external verifier to fast-track its assessment.
Also at yesterday’s ceremony, moves were made to launch yet another initiative – ‘Water Day Wednesday’. This was done with the hope of creating a new healthy trend among Guyanese by encouraging them to choose water as their preferred beverage every Wednesday.
Ms. Gillian Trim of the Food Policy Division within the Ministry of Public Health encouraged those in attendance to take up the challenge by highlighting several benefits of drinking water which include: weight loss, flushing of toxins, headache remedy and improved physical performance.
The importance of water in one’s diet was further emphasized by a skit performed by students of the CSHE and Ms. Radha Singh. Among other presentations was a promotional talk from Ms. Mignon Maynard-Sancho, Coordinator of the University of the Southern Caribbean [USC]. She said that the USC remains committed to being a partner of the CSHE, in terms of offering higher qualification programmes.
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