Canada must help train Guyanese nurses for local, foreign markets- Ali

Last Updated on Thursday, 13 July 2023, 22:04 by Denis Chabrol

President Irfaan Ali addressing the Canada Day 2023 reception. Also in picture are Canada’s High Commissioner to Guyana Mark Berman (left of Ali), Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony and Permanent Secretary of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Elisabeth Harper.

President Irfaan Ali on Thursday appealed to Canada to set up a training institution in Guyana to train Guyanese as nurses for the local, Caribbean and Canadian markets, as the South American nation grapples with a serious shortage of that category of health workers due to migration.

“We encourage Canadian accredited institutions to establish their footprint in Guyana for the training of nurses to meet your own demand, for the training of medical technicians to meet your own demand and also to meet the regional demand which includes our own demand,” he said in address at a  reception to mark Canada’s 156th Independence anniversary.

Dr Ali said the Guyana government would be opening talks with development partners to have Guyana’s nursing institutions accredited by Canadian standards. “I believe that if our nurses are good enough to be recruited from the training they receive right here in CARICOM, we are good enough to sell that service to train them for the rest of the world,” he said.  Among the attendees were Minister of Health Dr Frank Anthony as well as other medical doctors.

The President his administration was working on such a business activity to create in Guyana an avenue for global training and education as an “export earner.”

The Guyanese leader said the Caribbean’s was doubly affected because nurses leaving countries in the region to take up job offers in Canada and other countries and their positions were being replaced by others from within the Caribbean. “This is an area in which CARICOM, as a region is severely challenged as in the cycle of the movement of labour, we see more attractive markets attracting our medical workers, our nurses, leaving a deficit in our system and then within CARICOM itself the more attractive markets would pull from within the system creating further deficits in some countries,” he said.

A senior health sector source said the Georgetown Public Hospital alone is short of 600 nurses and countrywide the public health sector is battling with a shortage of about 1,300.

The President on Wednesday announced that the Guyana government would be turning to Cuba as a short-term measure to ease the nursing shortage.