THE HAGUE–Residents of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba will be able to take part in health screenings in the near future.
In a letter to the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament earlier this week, State Secretary of Public Health, Well-being and Sport Paul Blokhuis announced that he has asked the Netherlands National Institute for Public Health and Environment RIVM to draft a plan to set up a sustainable programme structure for health screening in the Caribbean Netherlands.
The basis for this screening should be in place no later than 2022. Blokhuis has asked the RIVM to set up a full-fledged screening organisation for the execution of the screening programme in Bonaire, which can easily be expanded to St. Eustatius and Saba. The RIVM has already started with the recruitment of personnel.
The programme will include several parts, such as the restart of the pilot breast-cancer screening in Bonaire, the switch to a full-fledged programme of breast-cancer screening by next summer, the start of the colon-cancer and cervical-cancer screening pilots in Bonaire, and a plan of approach to set up the screening in St. Eustatius and Saba to initiate the first pilot on these islands soon.
Currently, there is no structural screening for cancer in the Caribbean Netherlands and there is no screening organisation in place on the islands. Screening takes place when there is a direct need and within the existing health care structure.
The RIVM was asked in 2018 to make the initial preparations for a screening structure in the Caribbean Netherlands. Prior to this, the Caribbean Netherlands Health Insurance Office ZVK initiated a pilot breast-cancer screening in Bonaire in October 2019.
As part of the pilot, 341 women were screened. The pilot was to have continued until May 2020, but was stopped because of the COVID-19 crisis. An evaluation by the RIVM showed the positive aspects of this screening pilot, including the early detection of breast cancer in a number of women.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/structural-health-screening-for-caribbean-netherlands