Barbados, HIV and Nursing Policy

There is a controversy brewing in Barbados concerning Nigerian nurses and HIV – in particular, concerning the way the story was reported by the CBC, which provoked industrial action.

As Alison Mayers points out in a (fairly impassioned) guest column in The Nation, there are many things that we might ask about HIV and the use of Nigerian nurses in foreign health systems.

To me, the most important unanswered question is: “What exactly was the point of the story?”  Was it to open another chapter of the necessary public debate about HIV?  Was it to discuss the statistics of HIV and other communicable diseases in different societies and to compare and contrast if the differences in various societies are the same when the health-care workers from those societies are compared?

Or, was it to use a sensationalist headline to capture the interest of the viewers and then use that opportunity to unashamedly persecute and bully the Nigerian community and in particular the Nigerian nurses now living and working in Barbados?

NB – I’ve altered a little bit of the phrasing here for the sake of taking Mayers’ column out of its context and plonking it in here.  But I’m not offering any prizes for guessing the answer to the rhetorical questions that we’re supposed to give. 

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