PHILIPSBURG–The Physical Therapy Associations of Curaçao, Aruba, St. Maarten and the Netherlands signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to improve collaboration amongst the different countries, during the Spinal Cord Injury Congress 2018 held in Curaçao in September.
The presidents of the three Caribbean associations Gerold Brandon (Curaçao), Marlon Maduro (Aruba) and Peter Prinsen (St. Maarten) together with Dutch Physical Therapy Association Koninklijk Nederlands Genootschap voor Fysiotherapie (KNGF) board members, advisors and quality and policy manager Edith van der Bent agreed during a meeting to collaborate on important topics such as quality and assurance of paramedical care.
“This is an important step forward and fits within the collaboration agreement of the public health ministries of the four countries. The public health ministers of the four countries signed earlier this year a ministerial cooperation agreement that prioritises strategic collaboration between the countries on different objectives to improve public health,” it was stated in a press release.
The association presidents from the three Dutch Caribbean islands believe that quality requirements for physical therapists should be the same for Curaçao, Aruba and St. Maarten as for the Caribbean Netherlands islands Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba. At this moment the formulated quality requirements are poorly regulated and are organised differently for the islands.
The associations aim to improve the quality of paramedical care by making shared quality agreements and to work together towards a common Caribbean quality register for physical therapists. This was one of the topics the Caribbean associations discussed with the Dutch association KNGF.
KNGF represents most of the physical therapists in the Netherlands and is responsible for the management of the quality register. To set up a quality register for the physical therapists in the Caribbean with the help of the Dutch association would be challenging, but in the eyes of the associations are not impossible.
The associations emphasised that collaborating with stakeholders such as public health, insurance companies in the social and private sector and other partners is necessary to achieve these goals. Every individual association will work on that within its own country in the coming period.
“As paramedics we like to improve our quality of care. … But quality requirements are not always realistic and achievable. We do have negative experience with implementing regulations formulated in the Netherlands and used in the Caribbean without adjustments.
“That’s why the associations would like to use this MOU to collaborate, to share information and to formulate realistic and acceptable quality requirements which are achievable for the physical therapists within the Caribbean part of the Kingdom,” it was stated in the release.
“We are very happy that the Dutch association would like to assist us to make sure that the quality standards are assured and that our patients receive high standard care, on the same level as in the Netherlands, for example.”
Besides working on quality regulations there are different topics in which the physical therapist can be involved. The Public Health Ministers of the four countries made agreements to collaborate on the preventive care programmes and education of healthcare professionals and to work together on programmes to stimulate healthy lifestyle, sports and exercise, all topics where physical therapists can play a leadin
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/81880-physical-therapists-sign-mou-to-collaborate-with-kingdom