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GDF OFFICER GRADUATES AS MEDICAL DOCTOR

The Guyana Defence Force congratulates Captain Natoya Adanna Lewis-Fraser who has successfully completed her internship at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation and has joined the staff at the GDF Medical Corps. Doctor Lewis-Fraser earned the Bachelor of Medicine Bachelor of Surgery Degree (MBBS) and graduated from the University of Guyana in November 2011.

 

The young Officer is one of the latest to benefit from the Force’s continuing policy to provide opportunities for the academic and professional development of its human resources and that of the nation. The Captain proceeded to read for her degree after being awarded a scholarship to study at the university in 2006.

The 30 year-old, who was born at the Leonora Cottage Hospital, hails from Vergenoegen on the East Bank of Essequibo. She received her formal education at the Stella Maris Primary School, Saint Stanislaus College and Queens College, earning in the process, nine subjects at CXC, three at CAPE and one at the GCE Advanced Level.

She enlisted as a Cadet Officer and successfully completed her Officer training in 2002. It was the beginning of her journey toward fulfilling her childhood dream of becoming a doctor. After receiving her State Commission, Dr Lewis-Fraser served as Administrative Officer at the Ordnance Corps, and then at Base Camp Stephenson. She also served, as Principal Instructor on the Basic Recruit Course 2004-01, and had the pleasure of seeing her platoon being adjudged the Best Platoon. She later served for one year, as the Personal Assistant to former Chief of Staff, Brigadier General Edward Collins.

Recounting her experiences during her Cadet training, Captain Lewis-Fraser explained that her parents’ service in the GDF inspired her enlistment. “My parents were the examples I had, but it was my mother’s determination to rise through the ranks which made me feel that I too, could become a success in the Force,” she said, “however, after about six weeks of training I doubted myself and actually gave up. It was my father who provided the advice and strong shoulder, and encouraged me to persevere. I am grateful to him, because I did,” she added

Dr. Lewis-Fraser said that, in many ways, her military training was a significant enabler during her medical studies. “Understanding and appreciating the need to be thorough, organised, and disciplined in my approach to life, was critical to ensuring that I maintained the level of success necessary to achieve my goals and the expectations of the Guyana Defence Force during my studies,” she noted.  “I commenced the Pre-Med programme, pursuing a degree in Chemistry in 2005 and then, with a solid GPA, went on to enter the Medicine programme. Studying was rigourous and demanding and I had to remain focused at all times.”

“The past year at the GPHC has been my most rewarding. It presented me with a steep learning curve since it involved the real-world application of my university training,”she shared. “As an Intern, you are the most junior doctor, heavily tasked, but always under the supervision of senior doctors. It is the year during which you are being assessed and you are always on “first call’ in the hospital,” she added. The young Doctor explained that it was not difficult to meet the expectations of the assessing doctors, provided that one did what was expected.

Addressing her role in the GDF Captain (Dr) Lewis-Fraser indicated that she happy to be in service at the GDF Medical Corps. “I am thankful to have been given this great opportunity by the GDF to earn my Medical Degree. But, more importantly, as an Officer in the GDF, I am committed to giving back to the Force and to the nation at large. A doctor must be a compassionate person who can, when necessary, be firm. I look forward to working with my colleagues at Medical Corps and to continue learning as I go along. I am happy to see the many changes that have taken place at Medical Corps and would like to see the Medical Centre become a hospital in its own right. Apart from building the Medical Corps, I aim too, to build the military component of my professional development and, through my service, add value to the Force.” Addressing the issue of pursuing specialisation in surgery, Captain Lewis-Fraser indicated that she will do so at the appropriate time.

Married and the mother of a two year-old daughter, she is a very spiritual woman and a dedicated member of the Seventh Day Adventist community, who plans to one day attend Bible School and earn a degree in Theology.

Speaking to the development of females in the GDF, the Captain expressed the hope that all serving females will set achievable goals and put their best foot forward. “You cannot go anywhere or achieve anything if you do not set goals! Your lives must be goal-oriented. You must plan and work to your plan. Perseverance is critical. The GDF is not a play school! As females, you must learn to be tough and to make tough but intelligent choices. For me, I live by the word of God which says that, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!”