In response to concerns raised on social media as of January 17, 2024, the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development, and Labor (VSA) addresses the community regarding the STEPS Health Survey and its interviewer(s).

Following internal investigations, the Ministry of VSA assures the public that no evidence of misconduct by any interviewer has been found. The STEPS interviewers are trained to follow important guidelines when visiting households. These guidelines allow each resident to feel confident that the survey is an official Government survey. These guidelines include showing personal identification, providing clear information as to the purpose of the survey, requesting participant consent, and scheduling appointments for health screenings.

Public safety and the integrity of our interviewers are paramount. We take any allegations of violations, threats, or misconduct with utmost seriousness. However, we do not advocate for the circulation of misinformation, as this, too, can create unnecessary public alarm and safety concerns. An official police report against the accusations and threats towards survey interviewers is currently being filed.

About the STEPS Health Survey: The Ministry of VSA, in partnership with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and endorsed by Social & Health Insurances SZV, initiated this survey in July 2023, set to continue through 2024. The interviewers of this survey are hired specifically for this project, and are esteemed community members dedicated to improving our healthcare systems and social development.

The participation of the selected households is crucial. The data collected will directly influence policy-making, aiming to enhance healthcare services for all residents of Sint Maarten. It is our objective to ensure that all contacted individuals are well-informed and feel safe throughout the survey process, receiving detailed information, including official government contact details.

The Ministry of VSA and the STEPS Health Survey project team extend heartfelt thanks to everyone who has participated in the survey thus far. Your contribution is invaluable. We eagerly anticipate the continued involvement of our community members in the coming months, confident in the positive impact this survey will have on the future of healthcare in Sint Maarten.

For further inquiries or detailed information regarding the STEPS Health Survey, please visit the Government website or Facebook page, SZV Facebook page, or e-mail st*********@si************.org.