Government is seeking additional nurses as it further strengthens its capacity to deal with the growing number of COVID-19 cases.
During a press conference held this evening at Ilaro Court, Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley revealed she had been discussing the matter with her counterparts in and outside of the region.
She explained the move was necessary as Government did not want to impact the services at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) by redeploying personnel to deal with situations outside of that facility, although it is responsible for managing the isolation sites.
“The principle is we cannot in any way take away from the QEH because we have other health problems in the country, and the government does not want those persons who depend on the QEH affected by it,” the Prime Minister explained.
She also disclosed that some of the Cuban nurses who were brought on board last year would be returning to their homeland on holiday.
“They have been here for a year and they are due for vacation, and we will have some come in to replace them. I’m also in discussions with the president of Ghana with respect to additional nurses. And at the CARICOM level, and I’m sure that the chair of CARICOM will be speaking to the region later, but we’ve all agreed to a deeper cooperation where possible, particularly given the fact that many all of us effectively are facing challenges with the COVID variants as we go forward,” Ms. Mottley announced.
She further stated that Government was also reaching out to medical personnel within the Caribbean diaspora to lend assistance, not just to Barbados but the wider region.
“We hope that we can do the outreach to Barbadian medical and nursing personnel, as I said, in the diaspora …. So that this is an ongoing process and it’s going to be difficult because everybody is having challenges, but it is not impossible… We are hoping that we can have sessions with them in North America, and in the UK, to see some of whom may be willing to come home and spend a few weeks and also help as well,” Ms. Mottley explained.
As it relates to the existing medical staff stationed at the Harrison Point Isolation Facility, the Prime Minister said she was fully confident in the ability of the doctors there to train persons brought on to assist in the fight against the virus.
She also commended Head of Isolation Facilities, Dr. Corey Forde, on his efforts to train over 200 people in various tasks that can aid in the management of surge of COVID-19 cases, as is being experienced at this time.