As the Nation experiences a shortage of nurses and other healthcare professionals – due to migration and poaching – the Government says it will be looking outside for persons to fill the gaps.
Antigua and Barbuda has often turned to Cuba for such assistance; however, this time around, it will be looking to the African continent.
This week’s Cabinet Notes indicate that Sir Molwyn Joseph, Minister of Health, informed his colleagues that the process of attracting nurses from Ghana has already been started.
Reportedly, these nurses are English speakers, have been trained to meet the standards set by the United States, and have several years of experience.
Barbados has undertaken a similar programme, successfully recruiting 100 nurses from Ghana, the Notes say.
However, criticism of the plan has reached REAL News from all quarters.
Most persons are asking at what rates the Government will compensate these nurses, as well as pay for their housing and other amenities, when local nurses are still waiting to be paid their COVID-19 and other allowances.
Others ask whether this medical brigade will also be housed at the property owned by the Prime Minister’s son, as was done with the Cuban healthcare workers.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health is set to engage a consultant with the goal of making the country’s polyclinics more efficient and better staffed.
Reportedly, this professional is expected to come up with ways to make clinics a more attractive alternative, thus easing some of the pressure at the hospital’s Emergency Room.
“The public clinics are not being utilized for the purposes intended because medical practitioners are frequently not present,” the Notes say.