Dutch side survey on Vaccination

 Dutch side survey on Vaccination

A study will commence shortly to determine the percentage of the St. Maarten population that has been vaccinated.

In a joint project, Sector Health Care Affairs, American University of the Caribbeanâ??Medical School, the White and Yellow Cross, a PAHO consultant (methodology) of the World Health Organization, and representatives of the Spanish and Haitian communities are joining forces and resources to carry out this study to determine the level of efficacy.

At a press conference at the office of SHCA, Commissioner Maria Buncamper-Molanus holds the position that it is important to vaccinate.

"Vaccinations can protect individuals and whole communities by interrupting diseases transmissions. Because of the importance of vaccination, Governmentâ??s policy is to provide free of charge vaccinations to all children living on St. Maarten.

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Commissioner Buncamper-Molanus continued: "Governmentâ??s responsibilities for Public Health will increase with the eventual change of constitutional status. The Island Government will continue to oversee Public Health initiatives in the area of: collective prevention, such as effective surveillance systems (dengue, HIV/AIDS); expanded Youth Health Care programs; awareness and interventions to promote healthy lifestyles through nutrition, obesity, and exercise; and supportive mechanisms in the form of subsidies for Non-governmental Organizations.

Drs. Jorien Wuite, Sector Director of Health Care Affairs, reflected on a proud moment. "I take pride again because the SHCA has once more engaged in a project that reflects the SHCA as a Knowledge Institute. Like in another study, â??How Healthy is St. Maarten?â??â?¦ This vaccination survey will measure where immunization is on St. Maarten but also what we can learn from the results. We know that due to belief systems and language barriers it is sometimes difficult to reach everyone.

The study will be extensive, according to Preventive Health Department Head, Dr. Rachel Eersel. We are aiming for a sample of 10% of the population. There will be actually 2 surveys: one for the entire of Dutch side and the other, in specified districts. The objective is to calculate the immunization coverage for the children 12-59 months and to determine if there are differences in immunization coverage for the entire territory compared with the specified districts.

The survey will be completed in 1-2 weeks, starting September 6, 2008. The team conducting the surveys will be guided by Dr. James Dobbins from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).