After a request 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 Barnadian capital of Bridgetown, Ghana is set to send 375 qualified nurses to the carribean nation of Barbados to work in a number of their country’s government medical facilities to address the acute shortage of skilled caregivers.
President Akufo-Addo was in that country on a day’s working visit as part of a five Carribean nation 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 working state visits of the five carribean nations have already taken the President to Guyana, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, as well as Trinidad and Tobago. He will also visit Jamaica.
Addressing a joint News conference after bilateral talks, the Barbadian Prime Minister stated that her country was searching for just 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 Barbados’ healthcare sector.
On his part, President Akufo-Addo indicated that “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 which was 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, so as 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 is giant in that field, and 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.