BVI attracts healthcare professionals from Cuba, the Philippines and Ghana

As the BVI continues to struggle with a shortage of healthcare professionals to provide vital services locally, Health Minister Marlon Penn has announced steps are being taken to hire and retain staff to serve the community.

Minister Penn said the BVI Health Services Authority (BVIHSA) has reached an agreement with Cuba that will result in the deployment of a limited number of health professionals to the BVI over the next year.

Minister Penn did not specify the number of Cuban health care providers who will be deployed.

He added that nurses are among the most needed healthcare professionals in BVIs, so the territory is looking to Asia and Africa to help fill the void.

“New markets for recruiting nurses are being actively explored, especially in Ghana and the Philippines, as nursing shortages are the most pressing concern at the moment. Retention initiatives are being reviewed by the BVIHSA Board of Directors for all clinical and paramedical staff to ensure trained staff can be retained while working within budgetary limitations,” Penn told the House of Assembly on November 15.

In a bid to attract more healthcare professionals, the government has also partnered with H Lavity Stoutt Community College, which will provide continuing professional development opportunities to improve the skills of allied health professionals and other technical staff. who are already working in the health sector.

Minister Penn said the shortage of healthcare professionals is not unique to BVI and is faced by many countries around the world.

He also said the problem had been compounded by the global COVID-19 pandemic and had led some countries to offer more attractive packages, including increased compensation packages and immigration incentives to attract medical professionals. to their jurisdictions.

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