QEH executive says Ghanaian nurses fill ‘critical’ shortage in Barbados’ healthcare system
BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS — Another 200 nurses from Ghana are being brought into Barbados’ healthcare system as demand for medical practitioners remains sky-high amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The impending arrival of the nurses was recently revealed by Prime Minister Mia Mottley as she delivered remarks in Africa on the occasion of Ghana’s 65th Independence Day.
Mottley said, “I stand here on your Independence Day to thank the people of Ghana for being able to support us in our need for nurses, with the first 95 nurses having gone to Barbados in July of 2020.
“We thank you the government of the people of Ghana for that most generous gesture, and we are heartened that they have made a huge difference to our public healthcare system, so much so that we have just completed interviews for just under another 200 nurses to come to Barbados in the near future.”
Barbados and Ghana have in place an agreement for the recruitment of Ghanaian nurses.
According to the Barbadian government, “The agreement — which was signed on Friday, November 15, 2019, at Jubilee House when Mia Mottley paid a courtesy call on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as part of her official visit to Ghana — saw the initial recruitment of over 100 Ghanaian nurses.”
The recruitment agreement also comes as CARICOM member states seek to expand partnership with African nations, with the inaugural CARICOM-Africa Summit having just taken place last September.
Continued need for healthcare workers
Some Barbadians, however, were not pleased to learn of hundreds more Ghanaian nurses being recruited into the healthcare system, arguing that local nurses could have fit the bill.
But Queen Elizabeth Hospital Executive Chairman Juliette Bynoe-Sutherland reportedly shut down such criticism as she noted a continued “critical” shortage of healthcare workers.
“We had to bring help,” Bynoe-Sutherland said, adding the nurses from Ghana “have filled and continue to fill critical shortages while we continue to recruit locally and regionally”.
“It’s not a choice, either Ghanaians or Barbadians. We need both.”
The executive chairman also vouched for the caliber of the nurses, stating, “These Ghanaian nurses are a tremendous asset to the QEH and have been received warmly by QEH counterparts and the Barbados Nurses’ Association.
“They are experienced, hardworking and many are specialist trained.”