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PANCAP remembers Dr Michael Perry Gomez, former Director of the National HIV Programme and Minister of Health of the Bahamas

October 26, 2023


Dr Gomez was known universally as the patron saint of the National HIV response in the Bahamas. A pioneer in its most essential sense, he was the founder and sole Director of the National HIV Programme of the Bahamas and, as a complementary initiative, also founded the AIDS Clinical Services Programme at the Princess Margaret Hospital in Nassau.

Dr Gomez earned a medical degree from the University of the West Indies and immediately thereafter proceeded to Wayne State University where he specialized in Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases. This preparation became his passport to a lifetime of selfless and unsurpassed public health service.

He published widely with his most celebrated work being his contribution to “Fourth Generation Enzyme linked to Immuno-Absorbent Assay for the Simultaneous Detection of HIV Antigen and Antibody”.

Fiercely committed to the cause of the Caribbean, Dr. Perry Gomez never plied his trade elsewhere. For more than three decades, he placed his renowned skills as an internist and infectious disease specialist at the complete disposal of the people of the Bahamas and, indeed, the wider Caribbean.

Under his calm but strong and compelling leadership, HIV transmission rates in the Bahamas declined by more than 30%, HIV transmission from mother-to-child had all but disappeared, 72% of all persons with advanced HIV received requisite treatment, while 100% of all persons with HIV and TB co-infection received full treatment for both conditions.

A true Caribbean patriot, Dr. Gomez lent his vast professional and leadership skills across the Caribbean. He was the Standing Chair of the Executive Council of the Caribbean HIV and AIDS Regional Training Initiative; served as Co-Chair of the regional initiative for the Elimination of Vertical Transmission of HIV and Syphilis and member of the Executive Board of the Pan Caribbean Partnership against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP).

For good measure, Dr. Gomez also served on various technical advisory bodies of PAHO/ WHO, UNAIDS and the Clinton Foundation.

Dr. Gomez was the recipient of several prestigious awards.
• In 1998, he received the “Merit of Award of the Government of the Bahamas” for contribution to Medicine;
• In 2003, he was admitted to the Most Excellent of the Order of the British Empire;
• In 2005, he was named “Civil Society Person of the Year of the Bahamas”;
• Again in 2005, he was recognized as “The Bahamas Journal Person of the Year”; and
• In 2010, received the coveted “Sir Linden Pindling Award for Excellence”.

As the Bahamas Journal summed it up in its tribute of 2005, “the good doctor has been the epitome of what world class is all about and we have a responsibility to reward excellence”.

Because of his remarkable accomplishments, together with a lifetime of distinguished service to public health Dr. Michael Perry Gomez was conferred with the PANCAP Award for Excellence, in 2010.

To the family of the late Dr Michael Perry Gomez, we extend our deepest condolences.