The Chair of the Regional Nurses Body (RNB), Nester Edwards, Chief Nursing Officer, Grenada, has called for urgent action to address the secretive recruitment of experienced CARICOM nurses and midwives by international agencies. In her opening remarks, at the Forty-Fifth Annual General Meeting of the RNB on Monday, at the Caribbean Community Headquarters at Turkeyen, Edwards lamented the fact that “experienced nurses are leaving in large numbers,” according to a media release from CARICOM.“Chief Nursing Officers (CNOs) can testify to a certain renewed active migration taking place where international agencies are coming in a secretive manner and recruiting our personnel. We need to bring this back to the table and talk about implementing those strategies,” Nester was quoted as saying in the release, as she referred to the 2001 Migration Strategy.
According to the CARICOM statement, Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence, who also addressed the gathering which included representatives of Nursing Councils, universities and international development partners, underscored the urgent need for a comprehensive human resource strategy that will boost the present workforce and prioritise the improvement of nursing education in keeping with current trends and best practices in the field.
Lawrence bemoaned the migration “crisis”, emphasising “something must be done to ensure that the haemorrhaging of our trained people who [governments] borrow to invest in”, is stopped, the CARICOM release said. The minister called for a statement to be issued by the RNB to regional leaders to take action on the “pilfering of our human resources”.
Lawrence alluded to the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal Three which speaks of ensuring the health and well-being of the Community’s citizens and noted that critical and intense efforts were needed as 2030 approaches.
“… we cannot achieve the goal of our citizens being the healthiest in the Caribbean and the Americas, if we do not have at our disposal a core of highly qualified and professional dedicated health workers”, Lawrence was quoted in the release as saying.
According to the CARICOM statement, the RNB meeting, which runs until tomorrow, will provide an opportunity for reviewing progress and challenges in the sector. These matters include an update on the collaboration with the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) with respect to the CXC-Managed Regional Examination for Nurse Registration (RENR), the ratification of the definition, regulation and Scope of Practice of Assistive Nursing Personnel, and in partnership with the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), the updating and finalizing of the Regional Strategic Framework.