Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Patrick Todd, (second from left) and Chief Nursing Officer, Mitchell Clarke, pose with the organisers??of the meeting.

In light of the mass exodus of nurses in the region, a government official is calling for more creative ways to attract individuals to the profession.

This was disclosed today by Chief Nursing Officer, Mitchell Clarke, who was delivering remarks on behalf of Barbados’ Health Minister, Donville Inniss.

He said: "The migration of professionals is an increasing problem for some member states of the CARICOM region. Globalisation has led to even greater mobility of health professionals and opportunities for employment.

"Caribbean countries have estimated losses of US $16 million in training and retraining costs to replace the human capital lost to emigration. In order to address this worldwide shortage of nurses, governments and professional organisations must find creative ways of making the profession more attractive."

Mr. Clarke pointed out that Barbados fully supported the nursing declaration on managed migration, tabled at the Council on Health and Social Development meeting in April, 2004. It urged all relevant authorities in the Caribbean Region to step up their action to strengthen nursing in five key areas. These are Utilisation and Development; Recruitment and Retention; Terms and Conditions of Work; Education and Training; Value and Recognition of Nurses and Management Practice/Policy.

Regional delegates also heard that in order to fulfil its mandate of ensuring adequate availability of trained nursing personnel, the Government of Barbados had embarked on a programme to increase the enrolment of nurses in training at the Barbados Community College on an annual basis.

And, Mr. Clarke disclosed that the Ministries of Education and Health had recently appointed a task force to undertake a comprehensive review of the General Nursing Programme at the Barbados Community College.?? "The report of the task force has been submitted to the respective ministries, and discussions on the way forward will be held shortly," he revealed.

Over 40 delegates from across the region are attending the inaugural two-day meeting at the headquarters of the Pan-American Health Organisation, at Dayrells Road. It is being held under the theme "Towards an Action Plan to Build Capacity for Nursing and Midwifery Education".

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