Saba healthcare workers celebrate their day with Statia colleagues

Joined by their colleagues from St. Eustatius, healthcare workers on Saba celebrated International
Healthcare Workers Day on Thursday, May 12. The program started with an ecumenical service at the
Roman Catholic Church in The Bottom.
This was the first time that International Healthcare Workers Day was celebrated under this new name.
Before, it was called International Nurses Day. To make this event extra special, a group of healthcare
workers came over from St. Eustatius to celebrate the day with their colleagues on Saba. The group of
25 Statia healthcare workers was headed by nurse Carol Jack-Roosberg. The group arrived by ferry in the
morning and stayed for the day.
Everyone working in the local healthcare sector was invited to attend the program. Not only the
employees of Saba Cares, but also personnel of the Care and Youth Caribbean Netherlands ZJCN, the
Testing Center, the Public Health Department, the Vector Control/Hygiene Department, Medwork and
Saba Wellness Pharmacy.
Father Zbigniew ‘Zibi’ Orlikowski and Pastor Vernon Liburd hosted the well-attended ecumenical church
service. “You are there when people need it most. Your job involves so much more than just providing
care. Thank you for being there, for caring and for lifting people up,” said Father Zibi in his welcoming
Highly valuable
“You are highly valuable for your community. Thank God for having you. It is a noble profession that you
carry out. You work under strenuous situations. You are devoted to caring for other and you care for us
from cradle to death. I applaud your dedication, your commitment and your tenacity,” said Pastor Liburd
who did the blessing preceded by a moment of silence for “those who have lost the battle.”
Because she could not personally be present, Saba Cares Director Judith Meijer shared her message via
a short video. She thanked everyone for their contribution to the healthcare system. She said the
profession not only involved the physical aspect of people’s health, but also mental health, making
people feel comfortable and addressing loneliness for which social support is vital. Meijer called on the
healthcare workers to not only support their community, but also each other.
Tirelessly work
Commissioner of Public Health Rolando Wilson welcomed the Statia delegation to Saba. “On Saba Day, I
said that it is important to reach out to our brothers and sisters on neighboring Statia, and here you are.” He said that it was an honor to acknowledge healthcare workers as “pillars who work tirelessly” to safeguard the people’s health.
“You are the frontline workers who risk your life on a daily basis to help others in need. The community
at large has to treat all healthcare workers with dignity and respect. Let us not forget other healthcare
workers around the world and remember those who lost their lives during the COVID-19 pandemic
while caring for others,” said Wilson. Acting Island Governor Amelia Nicholson was also present at the
church service on behalf of the Public Entity Saba.
Nurse Felicia Dookhan read a poem by caregiver Yvonne Ugarte about kindness, something that is
inextricably associated with a nurse’s job. Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Saba Cares Sydney
Sorton thanked all healthcare workers for their hard work, dedication, contribution to the community
and for the betterment of healthcare.
Carol Jack-Roosberg said it was important for healthcare workers not to forget about themselves. “If you
don’t care for yourself, you cannot care for others.” She said the uniform did not make a person a nurse,
but rather everything that the person does impacts the job. She called on nurses to get together, work
together and empower each other for the benefit of the island communities.
After a closing word by Father Zibi, the healthcare workers gathered for a group photo in front of the
church and then went for brunch and festivities at Saba Cares next door.