Ghana is about signing a nurse-for-cash agreement with government of the United Kingdom.
Each nurse Ghana sends to the UK, once the deal is done, is likely to fetch the West African country £1,000, Health Minister Kweku Agyeman-Manu announced on the floor of parliament on Monday, 5 December 2022 during a debate of the 2023 budget.
Already, Ghanaian nurses are being sent to Barbados per an earlier agreement signed between the two countries.
“Mr Speaker, as you are aware, we’ve started sending our nurses outside on a bilateral basis and the agreement we signed with Barbados has sent the second cohort of nurses to Barbados. Mr Speaker, why would they come for both? Now, in Barbados, what we hear is the fact that patients are requesting Ghanaian nurses to be on their bedside and I think that is a plus for us”, Mr Agyeman-Manu said.
“We are engaging with the government of the United Kingdom and we are just about signing a memorandum of understanding after Cabinet approval to begin to send nurses, even certificate nurses to go for training and work there and come back home after three years”, he told the house.
“And, out of these nurses, Ghana is going to benefit from some little monies that the UK government will pass on”, he noted, explaining: “For every single nurse that goes away – when we finish the agreement – it’s likely we’ll get a £1,000 to come back to support our health system”.
Ninety-five Ghanaian nurses (49 women and 46 men) on Thursday, 30 July 2020 arrived in Barbados on an Azores Airlines chartered flight for a two-year contract.
They were to help the Caribbean country’s healthcare system.
In March 2022, the Prime Minister of the Island nation, Mia Motley, said during Ghana’s 65th independence anniversary in the Central Region, at which she was the special guest of honour, that: “I stand here on your Independence Day to thank the people of Ghana for being able to support us in our need for nurses, with the first 95 nurses having gone to Barbados in July 2020.”
“We thank you, the government of the people of Ghana, for that most generous gesture, and we are heartened that they have made a huge difference to our public healthcare system; so much so that we have completed an interview for another 200 nurses to come to Barbados in the near future,” she added.
In November 2019, the Foreign Ministers of Ghana and Barbados, on behalf of the governments and peoples of their respective countries, signed an agreement for the recruitment of a total of 120 nurses from Ghana to complement the staffing needs of the island nation.
The agreement was signed on Friday, 15 November 2019 at Ghana’s Jubilee House, when the Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, paid a courtesy call on the President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, as part of her official visit.
The objective of the agreement is to provide the framework for the provision of nurses by the Republic of Ghana to Barbados, taking cognisance of the existing commitment of Barbados to accepted international workforce policies and practices, as well as the International Council of Nurses (ICN) Code of Ethics for nurses.
The scope of services and responsibilities include Ghana providing registered nurses to Barbados with a level of expertise as agreed to by both countries, with Barbados providing Ghanaian nurses safe and secure working conditions for professional practice, and medical treatment where needed.
Remuneration is commensurate with the terms and conditions of Barbadian local registered nurses. Barbados is also to provide professional support to Ghanaian nurses to comply with the guidelines and rules of the Nursing Council of Barbados.
A total of 150 short-listed candidates underwent interviews, out of which 120 were to have been chosen.
The qualified nurses possess a minimum of three years of experience, with specialities in the following areas: critical care, cardiac catheterisation, emergency room, operating theatre, and ophthalmology.
It will be recalled that on 15 June 2019, during an official visit to Barbados, as part of activities to promote the declaration of 2019 as the Year of Return, President Akufo-Addo, in principle, agreed to a request by Prime Minister Mottley to send some nurses to work in a number of medical facilities in Barbados.
Addressing a press conference in the aftermath of the bilateral discussions, and with Barbados facing an acute nursing shortage, the Barbadian Prime Minister stated that “we have indicated that we are searching for just under 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.
For 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.”
He continued, “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.”