From left: St. Maarten Health Minister Emil Lee; Aruba Health Minister Otmar Oduber; Netherlands State Secretary Paul Blokhuis; and Curaçao Health Minister Suzy Camelia-Römer
KRALENDIJK–The four public health ministers in the Kingdom met in Bonaire on Thursday for the third Public Health Administrative Consultation to further improve and professionalise the quality of health care.
St. Maarten Health Minister Emil Lee, Aruba Health Minister Otmar Oduber, Curaçao Health Minister Suzy Camelia-Römer and Netherlands State Secretary Paul Blokhuis have said they intend to intensify their cooperation.
Working groups will meet more often to work on agreements on prevention programmes, cooperation amongst hospitals, medicines, training of healthcare professionals and data exchange, among other things.
Especially by 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, it was stated in a press release. This calls for choices of specialties per hospital, the release said.
To be better prepared for crisis situations like Hurricane Irma, the four countries have set up a working group to support the organisation 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 and training was held recently 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, the release said. Under St. Maarten’s direction, the points of action will be elaborated on further and introduced.
Prevention and lifestyle were not yet on the four countries’ agenda. It has now been agreed that these topics 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.
In Bonaire and St. Eustatius, the Netherlands signed a prevention and sports agreement in which concrete actions have been agreed on for a healthier Caribbean Netherlands. For example, children who need this get a healthy lunch at school and in day-care. 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.
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 labour market per country. That is why there are various actions per country to further professionalise healthcare, it was stated in the release.
For example, Aruba is working on the recognition and registration of diplomas that have been obtained abroad. Aruba is also working on a quality institution that will test foreign specialists.
St. Maarten is working on a proposal for more support from the Dutch Ministry of Health’s Centraal Informatiepunt Beroepen Gezondheidszorg (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.