Ghana is to send 375 qualified nurses to the Caribbean nation of Barbados to work in a number of the country’s public medical facilities to address the acute shortage of skilled caregivers.
The arrangement was reached after a request was made to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo by the Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Amor Motley during bilateral discussions between the pair on Friday in Bridgetown, the capital of Barbados.
President Akufo-Addo was in that country on a day’s working visit, as part of a tour aimed at promoting the “Year of Return” 2019, a major landmark event to be used as a bridge to build stronger ties between Ghana, those on the continent, and the African diaspora.
The visit of the five Caribbean nations has already taken the President to Guyana, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, as well as Trinidad and Tobago. In addition, he will also visit Jamaica.
Addressing a joint news conference after bilateral talks, the Prime Minister of Barbados stated that her country was searching for 400 nurses, “so it is not a small number, and we really do believe that this is a wonderful opportunity of co-operation between our two countries.”
In addition, she noted that there was also an initial promise to secure the nurses and provide joint education programmes going forward, all in an attempt to secure the Barbados healthcare sector.
On his part, President Akufo-Addo indicated, “we have a surplus of nurses in Ghana, and placing them all in our public health system is one of my headaches. There have been a lot (of nurses) produced, which, for several years, we have not been able to do anything with.”
“So, I am going back. I will be back in Accra on Monday, and the week after, the Prime Minister will hear from me on this matter of nurses.”
With President Akufo-Addo being the first leader of Ghana to visit Barbados, the two leaders agreed to reactivate a 2005 cultural, technical and scientific agreement signed between the two countries, an agreement that went dormant for 14 years.
The discussions also touched on tourism and transportation, with Ghana and Barbados agreeing to work on an air services agreement, which will establish direct air links between the two countries, in order to boost trade and people-to-people contact.
On the issue of renewable energy, President Akufo-Addo expressed Ghana’s desire to collaborate with Barbados, a country, which stands a giant in that field. He also reiterated Ghana’s commitment to increase the renewable energy component of her energy generation mix.
As a demonstration of the close ties between Ghana and Barbados, the president expressed his commitment to the establishment of an honorary Consulate in Barbados, with Barbados set to establish a High Commission in Accra by the end of 2019.