The Ghanaian nurses proudly display their country’s flag as they are greeted by Minister of Health and Wellness, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Bostic; Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Senator Lisa Cummins; and other government officials. (C.Pitt/BGIS)

Ninety-five nurses from the Republic of Ghana in West Africa arrived in Barbados yesterday on a two-year assignment, aimed at bolstering the nursing complement in the public health sector on the island.

The nurses, who will be attached to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, the Geriatric Hospital and the island’s polyclinics, were greeted on arrival by an entourage led by Minister of Health and Wellness, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Bostic and Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Senator Lisa Cummins.

Minister Bostic told the health professionals that they had arrived in Barbados “at a very opportune time”. 

He explained that while significant public health resources were engaged in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, the rest of the healthcare sector also had to be managed.

“Your presence here today, and certainly when you start to work in a couple of weeks’ time, will enhance our capacity to be able to deliver the quality healthcare services that we have been doing for years, and that we will continue to do. 

“And even though we have to divert some of our efforts towards fighting COVID-19, we are now in a better position to deal with the remainder of the healthcare system in Barbados and we are very happy that you are here.”

Minister Cummins welcomed the Ghanaian contingent, noting that the eight-hour direct charter flight, which brought them from Ghana to Barbados, held great promise for future air lift between the two countries.

She said that the Ministry of Tourism would ensure that the visitors are exposed to the best of what Barbados has to offer so that when they returned home to their families and friends they would become ambassadors for the island.

Senator Cummins also praised the capacity developed by the Ministry of Health and Wellness in response to the challenges posed by COVID-19, noting that as Barbados continued to roll out the resumption of tourism related activity, that kind of capacity in the healthcare system would ensure that both guests and Barbadians remain safe and healthy.

Ghanaian nursing officer, Lorraine Atopley, speaking on behalf of her colleagues, thanked everyone for the warm welcome. 

She said her team was committed to working hard and providing excellent service to the people of Barbados, and was looking forward to rewarding experiences over the two years.  

The nurses will be on the job in two weeks’ time at the end of the 14-day quarantine, under the COVID-19 protocol.

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