SIMPSON BAY–In a ceremony held at the clinic on Airport Road, Simpson Bay, Huisartsen Post (HAP) at St. Maarten Diagnostic Center (SMDC) officially opened its doors.
The event, hosted by Fernando Clarke, drew a significant turnout of medical professionals.
During his opening remarks, Dr. Danny Dennaoui, medical doctor and St. Maarten Diagnostic Center CFO, expressed his gratitude for this special moment, acknowledging the pivotal role played by his father, Dr. Michael Dennaoui. He shared his father's journey of arriving on the island 36 years ago with an ambition to practise medicine. About five years ago, his father recognised the urgent need for the establishment of the HAP, and through perseverance and hard work, they have now reached this significant milestone.
Dennaoui extended his appreciation to Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor VSA Omar Ottley, for his invaluable support in making this project possible. He also thanked Glen Carty, Director of Social and Health Insurances (SZV), for sharing their vision.
Acknowledgement was also given to Joshua Djemadi, Operations Manager at SMDC, and Dr. Kalkidan Bekele for their dedication and contributions to the project.
Carty took the opportunity to explain the importance of the clinic for SZV. As most doctors’ offices close between 5:00pm and 6:00pm, patients often have no choice but to resort to emergency rooms. Recognising the need for after-hours medical services, Carty emphasised that the HAP aims to address this gap. Additionally, he highlighted the potential financial savings for SZV through reduced emergency room visits for non-emergency cases.
Expressing his commitment to projects that benefit St. Maarten, Ottley commended the persistence demonstrated in bringing the HAP to fruition. He shared how he had taken the initiative and made it a priority to ensure its establishment. He concluded his address by saying, “As we cut this ribbon today, this signifies hope for healthcare, for the people in St. Maarten.” Ottley thanked SZV and the Dennaoui family for their unwavering dedication.
In a press release issued on Sunday, Ottley announced that the clinic had already attended to 60 patients on its first day of operation on Saturday.
The HAP operates from Monday to Friday, 6:00pm to 12:00am, Saturday from 8:00am to 12:00pm, and Sunday from 10:00am to 12:00pm. It offers after-hours general practitioner (GP) services to the general public.
This initiative was brought forward by the Dennaoui doctors to the VSA Ministry as a means to improve access to quality healthcare. The project received approval from Ottley with the aim of alleviating long waiting times at St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) by attending to non-emergency urgent care during these specified hours.