Over 100 nurses recruited from Guyana by global market in May alone – Ali

– says Guyana will have to start importing health workers

Even as the Government continues to up the number of nurses being trained, Guyana is losing nurses to the global market at an alarming rate. President Dr Irfaan Ali has revealed that over 100 nurses were recruited from Guyana to the global market in the last month.
According to President Ali, who was at the time speaking at an event to commemorate the Enmore Martyrs, the migration of nurses is a worldwide problem that is also further complicated by the declining intake of students into the nursing field, which he said is a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“One of the difficulties we have… in the last month alone, we have had more than 100 nurses recruited in the global market, from Guyana. And this is the story across the Region. So, we’re working aggressively on a plan to have all our health workers,” President Ali said.
“In the short term, it is clear we have to import health workers. Nurses, technicians, there’s a severe shortage. It is also clear that when we train, we’re training for the global market. We can’t hide from that fact. We’re living in a global market. That’s why we’re training in excess of what we need. But we will also be a major destination for skill sets to come.”
President Ali suggested that Guyana could become the centre for the Caribbean Community (Caricom) outsourcing training opportunities for nurses. He also noted that Guyana could recruit students globally. In fact, President Ali noted that in addition to the plethora of hospitals they are building, the Government will also be looking at developing health tourism.
“We will recruit students across the world. We will train them, and ensure that the English language is part of the training. And we will be able to help you solve a problem too. But you would need to give us the resources. And help us to finance this training programme. I think it’s an excellent opportunity.”
“I believe every challenge brings opportunities. And we should look to the brighter side of things and not always worry about the problem. And part of the solution is it positions Caricom as a major service provider for the world, because of some of our cultural and natural advantages, which includes English,” he further explained.
Health Minister, Dr Frank Anthony has said that the Administration plans to train over 3000 nursing specialists in the next three years, at a pace that will match the infrastructural development in the sector.
The aim is to complement the seven regional hospitals that are being constructed in various parts of the country, as well as the Maternal and Paediatric Hospital that is being constructed at Ogle, East Coast Demerara.
The enrolment process will be done online and interested persons, with a minimum of five Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) subjects, including Mathematics and English are being urged to apply.
The Government plans to build regional hospitals in Anna Regina, Region Two; De Kinderen, Region Three; Bath, Region Five; Number 75 Village, Region Six; one at Diamond and another at Enmore in Region Four, to increase access to quality healthcare. There will also be one in Bartica, Region Seven. Some $500 million was allocated to train medical personnel in 2023.
It has previously been announced that the Ministry is currently exploring options for offering post-graduate programmes for nurses to participate in fellowship training at McMaster University in Canada.
Last month, Minister Anthony had said that the Health Ministry is working with the United Kingdom to train biomedical technicians, and will soon roll out an ultrasound technician programme and a postgraduate programme for nurses. Works are also underway to upgrade some of the existing nursing schools across the country.
He was at the time speaking during the launch of the Nurses and Midwives Council’s (NMC) Continuing Nursing Education (CNE) programme for nurses, midwives and nursing assistants, to enhance their professional competence.
Only last year, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government had announced the roll out of $1.5 billion in major salary increases for over 5000 healthcare workers, with some increases ranging from 36.4 per cent to as much as 74.7 per cent. (G-3)