Aruba, Curacao the Netherlands and St. Maarten intensify cooperation for better healthcare in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom

The four Public Health government members of the Kingdom met on Bonaire today for the third Public Health administrative consultation to further improve and professionalize the quality of health care. Minister Oduber (Aruba), Minister Camelia-Römer (Curaçao), State Secretary Blokhuis (The Netherlands) and Minister Lee (St. Maarten) have expressed to intensify their cooperation. Working groups will meet more often in order to work on agreements on, among other things, prevention programs, cooperation between hospitals, medicines, training of healthcare professionals and data exchange.
More collaboration hospitals
Especially when offering specialist help in hospitals, the countries want to join hands more to offer as much appropriate assistance as possible to people within the Kingdom and to send people abroad less often. This calls for choices of specialties per hospital.

Crisis training
In order to be better prepared for crisis situations like Hurricane Irma, the four countries have set up a working group to support the organization of medical assistance to victims, so that victims receive optimum care and good quality medical care, the care for existing patients and vulnerable groups is not endangered and medications are in stock. A crisis manual was prepared. Recently a training was held on the evacuation of patients. The exercise was successful and yielded various points for improvement, for example in the field of mutual communication. With this a solid basis is laid for good cooperation. Under the direction of St. Maarten the points of action will be elaborated on further and introduced.

Attention to prevention and lifestyle improvement
Prevention and lifestyle were not yet on the agenda of the four countries. It has now been agreed that this topic will be prominently on the agenda at the next Administrative Consultation. In addition Aruba and The Netherlands will explore opportunities for more cooperation in the areas of youth health care, social emotional care, addiction care, child abuse and care for people with disabilities. On Bonaire and St. Eustatius, the Netherlands signed a prevention and sports agreement, in which concrete actions have been agreed upon for a healthier Caribbean Netherlands. For example, children who need this, get a healthy lunch at school and in daycare. There is also a lot of attention for more exercise for young and old. Improving sexual health is also an important part. Curacao is currently working on more attention to attachment problems among young mothers.

More healthcare professionals at work
The four countries work together on a quality framework for the admission of medical care professionals. This should, for example, make it easier for people to work in different countries. But there are also specific differences in the labor market per country. That is why there are various actions per country to further professionalize healthcare. For example, Aruba is working on the recognition and registration of diplomas that have been obtained abroad. Aruba is also working on a quality Institute that will test foreign specialists. St. Maarten is working on a proposal for more support from the CIBG in assessing diplomas of foreign graduates. Curaçao is in contact with ’Universitair Medisch Centrum Groningen’, so that medical doctors can follow their training as specialists in Groningen..