The long awaited contingent of 95 Ghanaian nurses arriving yesterday evening at Grantley Adams International Airport.
Nursing Officer Lorraine Atopley.
Minister of Health and Wellness, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Bostic welcomed the contingent of 49 women and 46 men to Barbados.
Long-awaited Ghanaian nurses arrive
After months of planning, the fruits of labour came to fruition when the contingent of ninety-five Ghanaian nurses arrived at the Grantley Adams International Airport yesterday.
Landing at approximately 5:57 pm yesterday evening, aboard Azores Airlines, the nurses celebrated their arrival by waving the national flag of the Republic of Ghana before being greeted by Minister of Health and Wellness, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Bostic and Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Senator Lisa Cummins. The nurses are here to help alleviate the nurse shortage in Barbados under a two- year contract.
Minister Bostic welcomed the contingent of 49 women and 46 men to Barbados, explaining that there had been many challenges and that their arrival was a momentous occasion. He highlighted that the occasion was a continuation of the initiative started by Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley, in reconnecting Barbados to the Republic of Ghana and Africa. The non-stop flight from Africa to Barbados was an important one, according to Bostic, as it was shorter than a flight to the United Kingdom.
“These nurses will be at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital as well as the primary health care sector, the geriatric hospitals and polyclinics and they have arrived at a very opportune time because we are fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and we have a saying, ‘no retreat, no surrender,’” said Bostic.
The health minister explained that though Barbados had to deal with the virus, there was still a responsibility to the remainder of the healthcare sector and it was now in a better position to provide those services.
“Your presence here today and when you begin to work in a couple weeks, will enhance our capacity to deliver the quality health care services that we have been doing for years and we will continue to do so,” said Bostic.
Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Senator Lisa Cummins remarked that the first flight from the Azores Airline was part of the ongoing work being done negotiating direct air service agreements between Barbados and countries all over the world. She also stated that the arrival of the Ghanaian and Cuban nurses was part of the roll out of the domestic tourism initiative.
“They are going to be with us for some time and we are going to ensure from the Ministry of Tourism perspective, that as part of our tourism domestic product, they can have all the best that Barbados has to offer, so when they go back home they are able to share with their friends and family,” said Cummins.
Nursing Officer Lorraine Atopley, on behalf of the nurses and President of the Republic of Ghana Nana Akufo-Addo, thanked the Ministry of Health and people of Barbados for their hospitality.
“We pray that we are going to have great communication and interaction here and a very good stay for the next two or more years. We promise to work hard to deliver good service to everyone and be at peace with everyone as we feel welcome at home,” said Atopley.
The nurses will be quarantined for the next fourteen days and after being cleared to work, will be staying at various residences across the island.