About 95 nurses from Ghana were shuttled off a chartered flight into the Grantley Adams International Airport on Thursday. The 95 Ghanaian nurses arrived via Azores Airlines.
The chartered flight was scheduled to arrive at 5.50 pm. Prior to the arrival, originally it was communicated that the cohort of nurses would arrive earlier this week.
The nurses went straight into the Gate 14 area after sanitizing their hands and going through the thermal scanning.
The direct flight to Barbados came out of Accra, Ghana. The Ghanaian nurses are initially on a two-year contract. Sharing this was Nursing Officer Lorraine Atopley.
Speaking on behalf of the contingent from Ghana, she said: “Thank you very much for welcoming us and greetings from her President Nana Akufo-Addo and all the human resources personnel from the Ministry of Health (in Ghana), greetings from them.”
Of the 95 nurses, it is almost a 50-50 split with 49 women and 46 men signing on to assist with healthcare locally.
She said that the team of nurses hopes to have “good interactions” with the patients “for the next two or more years.”
When she added “or more,” there was laughter and cheers from her colleagues and Barbados’ Minister of Health Lt Col Jeffrey Bostic, Minister of Tourism Senator Lisa Cummins along with other officials from both their ministries.
Atopley also added: “We promise to work hard to deliver good service to everyone and be at peace with everyone.”
Bostic told the media: “These nurses will be working at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital as well as the primary healthcare sector, that is the Geriatric Hospitals and polyclinics.”
He said that they have arrived at a very opportune time with the global COVID-19 pandemic unfolding.
“But that is not the only thing that we have to deal with as a Ministry of Health, we have the remainder of the healthcare sector to take care of even though we are fighting this battle and your presence here today and certainly when you start to work in a couple weeks time would enhance our capacity to deliver the quality of healthcare services that we have been doing for years, and that we will continue to do, and even though we have to divert some of our efforts to fighting COVID, we are now in a better position to deal with the remainder of the healthcare system in Barbados.
“And we are very happy for you.”
Asked about COVID-19 pre-testing, Atopley said: “We had the testing done for us, so we know we are all safe, but coming here we are going to continue testing just to be safe [. . .]
“We are going to be safe while we are here.”
The cohort of nurses from Ghana is a continuation of relations between Ghana and Barbados since mid-June 2019 when Ghana’s President Nano Akufo-Addo visited the island. On June 14, when he landed at the Grantley Adams International Airport he received a 21-gun salute and was met by Prime Minister Mia Mottley and a welcoming party of government officials.