SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten and the Netherlands have worked together intensively to cope as well as possible with the COVID-19 pandemic in the Caribbean.
These experiences in times of crisis have made it extra clear how important good cooperation is for improving health care for residents of the Caribbean part of the Kingdom.
The four countries have made agreements in Aruba this week to take new steps in the coming period.
The agreements include improving pandemic preparedness in the Caribbean region, cooperation in crisis situations such as hurricanes, prevention policy such as combating obesity and improved hospital cooperation, so that the quality of care can be improved and, for example, nursing staff can be trained jointly.
Sint Maarten will take the lead in the following topics: Crisis and disasters, prevention and Mental Health.
Representatives of the Ministries of Health of Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten and the Netherlands and representatives from the healthcare field and the health insurers met in Aruba in the week of 20 June for the fourth four-country consultation.
The countries note that there are similarities and differences in the healthcare systems and that there are more opportunities for cooperation to strengthen healthcare within the Caribbean part of the Kingdom.
The following topics were discussed: implementation of the international health regulation (IHL), pandemic preparedness, cooperation in crises and disasters, legislation in mental health care, prevention, quality frameworks and accreditation of healthcare professionals and institutions, care training and education and cooperation between the hospitals in the form of the Dutch Caribbean Hospital Alliance (DCHA).
More intensive collaboration
Various actions were formulated during the four-country consultation and various working groups will be set up in the coming period to give substance to the agreements made.
The agreements that will be further elaborated include: investing in a surveillance system for monitoring infectious diseases and non-communicable diseases, cooperating on access to medicines and medical materials in preparation for pandemics and disasters in the region, exchanging knowledge about health-promoting interventions, setting up joint quality frameworks/systems and creating a trajectory for students from the Caribbean area to progress to medical specialization in the European Netherlands or CAS-BES.
In the context of the hospital cooperation DCHA, it will be possible to work more intensively in other areas with a view to promoting efficiency, quality and sustainability of care for the region.
Topics where cooperation is continued and expanded concern joint purchasing, training and education, pandemic preparedness and efficient organization of hospital care on the islands.
“The is an example of teamwork and proof that together we can accomplish a lot more. The countries were in discussions for several months to ensure that this agreement benefits the people.
The agreement extends way more than just a hospital agreement. It touches the quality of care, sickness prevention, mental health, and education improvement”. Said Ottley.
Enthusiasm and trust
Minister Oduber (Aruba), Minister Pietersz-Janga (Curaçao), Minister Ottley (Sint Maarten) and State Secretary Van Ooijen (The Netherlands) look forward to the collaboration with great enthusiasm and confidence in the importance of guaranteeing and making the care for the inhabitants of the Caribbean part of the Kingdom more sustainable.
The next four-country public health consultation is scheduled for May 2023.