JIS News

Forty-eight Nigerian volunteer nurses are expected to arrive in the island on Monday (June 13), as part of the bilateral agreement between the Jamaican and Nigerian governments on the Technical Aid Corps (TAC) Scheme, to bring health professionals to the country to assist in areas where there is urgent need.
The arrival of the nurses is timely, in light of the shortage affecting the nursing service delivery due to overseas recruitment, which has resulted in some 513 nurses migrating to countries such as Canada, the United States and United Kingdom between 1999 and 2001.
Judith Smith-Richards, Director of Human Resource Management and Development in the Ministry of Health told JIS News that the nurses, some of whom are trained in midwifery, psychiatry and paediatrics, would be placed in health facilities across the island.
“They will be spread across the island because what we did in preparation for their arrival was to ask the four Regional Health Authorities, to indicate the number of nurses that they could accommodate and placed them according to requests,” she explained.Five of the nurses, who are tutors, will be placed either at the Kingston School of Nursing or at the Cornwall School of Nursing.
Under the TAC Scheme, which was signed in August 2002, the Nigerian government, on the request of the Jamaican government, agreed to send medical volunteers to Jamaica for a period of two years.Outlined in the terms of the agreement is that the Nigerian Government will be responsible for the cost of transporting the volunteers to and from Jamaica and also the appropriate allowances for the maintenance of each volunteer during the period of assignment.
In terms of the responsibility of the Jamaican government, it is obligated to provide suitable accommodation for each volunteer during the period as well as pay utility bills, offer free medical treatment as required, and provide suitable transportation to and from the place of work.
Mrs. Smith-Richards disclosed that the 48 nurses were among a contingent of 110 medical personnel expected to arrive under the agreement, which would also include pharmacists, physiotherapists and radiographers.
The nurses, she explained, were the first among the contingent to be processed to work in Jamaica.
Mrs. Smith-Richards said the physiotherapists were currently being processed and would be among another batch of personnel to arrive later in the year. The agreement also provides for the Health Ministry to offer employment to any of the volunteers at the completion of the two-year period.
“There is an understanding that the personnel must return to Nigeria before they will be allowed to take up permanent employment in the country,” she noted.
A reception to welcome the nurses will be held at the Medallion Hall Hotel in Kingston on June 14 at 9:30 a.m.
The Minister of Health, John Junor will bring greetings on behalf of the Jamaican government, while Modupe Akintola, Nigerian High Commissioner, will speak on behalf of the Nigerian government.

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