Some of the Ghanaian nurses and officials pose with Executive Chairman of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Juliette Bynoe- Sutherland (second from right) and Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Anton Best (third from left), at the Grantley Adams International Airport. The nurses will be assigned to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and other public health institutions for the next two years. (GP)

Barbados’ need for nurses continues to be “great”, says Executive Chairman of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH), Juliette Bynoe-Sutherland.

This is despite efforts to increase the output of nurses from the Barbados Community College, and to enhance retention programmes for local nurses “in all our institutions”.

Mrs. Bynoe-Sutherland was speaking during a reception for 122 Ghanaian nurses on Monday, at the Grantley Adams International Airport.

The second cohort of nurses from Ghana will be assigned to public health institutions across the island over the next two years. The first group came to Barbados in 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the QEH had a complement of over 800 nurses, this was still not enough to address local needs, the Executive Chairman pointed out.

“Like many hospitals, globally, we are faced with nursing shortages and there are some countries like Ghana which produce excellent nurses for the global market. So, we are appreciative of this initiative between the President of Ghana and our own Prime Minister to find areas of strategic functional cooperation and the exchange of personnel between countries is one such area,” she stated.

Director of the Human Resource for Health Directorate of the Ministry of Health, Republic of Ghana, Dr. Kwesi Asabir, said his country had a strategic plan where they trained over 20,000 nurses annually.

“We cannot consume these numbers locally; we need to support other nations internationally. [Ghana] is the first government that has decided, as a matter of policy, to send nurses abroad. The first country to [benefit] from the realisation of this policy is Barbados. While they are here, they will learn new skills, new ideas and when they return home, they will be able to share what they’ve learnt,” he noted.

Head of the Health Training Institutions Unit, Republic of Ghana Ministry of Health, Felix Nyante, spoke to the calibre of the Ghanaian nurses.

He assured Barbadians that the nurses, who all have specialist qualifications, were trained to the highest standards of the nursing profession.

“Please be assured that these nurses are well trained. We had to follow global standards for training in terms of the International Council of Nurses and the International Confederation of Midwives protocols. So, these nurses meet international standards,” he emphasised.

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