Dr Kiran Kumar to retire from HSA

| 05/06/2015
Public Health administration staff (L to R): Amber Martinez, Sarah Frederick, Timothy McLaughlin – Munroe, Therese Prehay, Nola Sanderson and  Dr Kiran Kumar (seated)

Public Health administration staff: Dr Kiran Kumar (seated) and (standing, L to R) Amber Martinez, Sarah Frederick, Timothy McLaughlin-Munroe, Therese Prehay and Nola Sanderson

(CNS): Following a long and distinguished career with the Public Health Department (PHD), the Cayman Islands Health Services Authority’s (HSA) Medical Officer of Health, Dr Kiran Kumar, will be retiring in July this year. Dr Kumar first took up his post when he arrived in the Cayman Islands in 1982; his retirement marks 33 years at that job.

In addition to his roles as Medical Officer of Health and Director of Primary Health Care, Dr Kumar has also held many other vital positions within Cayman’s medical field. He served as Chief Medical Officer from October 1992 to May 1995; HSA Acting Chief Executive Officer from October 1992 to April 1993; Chairman of the Health Practitioners Board from October 1992 to May 1995; and again Acting Chief Medical Officer from July 2007 to July 2008.

Dr Kumar said it was difficult to pinpoint any one single change in healthcare that he felt had been the most significant during his illustrious career.

“I have seen many changes, so it is difficult to say. First and foremost, we have enhanced the specialist services with state-of-the-art equipment, a modern hospital and new health centres. These were built from 1995 to 1998 and were a huge investment that paved the way to meet the needs for the community,” he said.

Professionally, Dr Kumar has achieved tremendous success over the years.

In 1992, while attending a meeting in Barbados, the World Health Organisation announced the Macedo World Health Day Award for Cayman’s health promotion programme, “Heartbeat Cayman”. The award recognised Cayman’s unique approach dedicated to the prevention of cardiovascular disease.

“It was a proud moment to receive such recognition for a small country like ours among the entire region of the Americas,” Dr Kumar said. “Thereafter, we were commended and recognised for our disease surveillance and immunisation programmes.”

Dr Kumar added that he was very happy to oversee the development of the primary health care services in the districts and fortunate to be given the chance to develop and implement the first National AIDS Programme plan in 1989 and the Influenza Pandemic Plan in 2007. He also played an integral part in the Health Practice Law from 2001 to 2004 and tobacco legislation from 2003 to 2010.

HSA CEO Lizzette Yearwood said it had been a privilege to work alongside Dr Kumar.

“Dr Kumar has been a pillar of the Health Services Authority community and the driver of so many important health initiatives for the Cayman Islands. We wish him every happiness in his retirement,” she said.

Premier Alden McLaughlin, who is also the Minister of Health, said that all Cayman residents owed Dr Kumar a huge debt of gratitude.

“For 33 years, Dr Kumar has been at the forefront of the Cayman community’s health and for that we are deeply grateful,” McLaughlin said. “Throughout his long and distinguished career, the Cayman Islands Government has acknowledged the impressive service that Dr Kumar has given to the Cayman Islands, recognising him for his services to the medical field with a Certificate and Badge of Honour in 2007 and, most recently, being named Pioneer of Health Services this year. There is no-one who deserves these awards more than Dr Kumar. We hope he has a long and happy retirement.”

Dr Kumar expressed his thanks to those who made an impact on his career. “My sincere appreciation goes to Nurse Jossie Solomon who was instrumental for my being in Cayman. My family and I are grateful to the Cayman Islands Government at large, the Ministry of Health, the Health Services Authority and Cayman’s public for the opportunity provided to me to serve as the Medical Officer of Health for the Cayman Islands for 33 years and the confidence they have placed on me,” he said.

“I am thankful for the support I have received throughout the years from my public health team as well as various public and private organisations. I have had excellent staff and I wish them success in their endeavours and my best wishes for good health to Cayman’s community.”

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