PHILIPSBURG:— The Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor, Minister Lee, together with staff from his Cabinet, had a constructive meeting with Mrs. Gea van Craaikamp, deputy Secretary General of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports of the Netherlands (Ministry VWS) and members of her staff, and Mr. Chris Johnson, Head of the Representation of the Netherlands in Sint Maarten.
Minister Lee and Mrs. Van Craaikamp explored the possibilities to build on the ongoing cooperation between the two Ministries and those of Curacao and Aruba on healthcare within the Kingdom as per cooperation agreement.
“Many of the problems related to health care that we are facing in Sint Maarten have already been addressed by our partners in the Kingdom. Aruba, for example, has gone through the process of setting up a National Health Insurance and has a great deal of experience to share with us. The Netherlands and the BES islands have a strong system when it comes to constraining the prices of prescription drugs. And Curacao is in the same process when it comes to the screening and vetting of doctors to establish in the country. Why not learn from their successes and challenges?”, Minister Lee stated.
The Ministry of VSA is working on various important issues under the National Health Reform program. One of those issues is finalizing the BIG-legislation, that will create a register on Sint Maarten for all medical professionals. The BIG will set educational norms and standards for all medical professionals while practicing in our country. While we are working on finalizing the BIG, Ministry VSA is working on the improvement of our current vetting system for medical professionals establishing on Sint Maarten who are not registered in the Netherlands.
Another issue is the pricing of prescription drugs. Ministry VSA is already actively engaged in researching a reform of our of prescription drugs pricing and is interested in learning from the legislation of the BES islands already in place.
Furthermore, VSA is facing a great deal of work on the establishment of new legislation and amendment of existing legislation related to healthcare. Minister Lee and Mrs. Craaikamp also discussed the possibilities to make use of the services of Dutch legislative lawyers to enhance the productivity of law-making in Sint Maarten. The Netherlands Ministry of Health can share their good practices with Sint Maarten on all these issues.
Cooperation will not be developed with the Netherlands Health Ministry alone. In September 2016, a cooperation agreement was signed by the Ministers of Health of Sint Maarten, Curacao, Aruba and the Netherlands. Cooperation will be developed under the umbrella of this agreement. The agreement established a platform between the four Ministers.
Minister Lee will take the initiative to organize the first meeting between the countries this year, preferably in between the elections on Curacao and Aruba. The four Health Ministers will set the agenda and work program, and successive working meetings will be held by the civil servants of the various Ministries. The aim is to share experiences and to come to more concrete cooperation results on certain issues.
Source: St. Martin News Network
Dutch Ministry of Health and Minister Lee discuss cooperation.