From left: State Secretary of Public Health Maarten van Ooijen of the Netherlands, Ministers of Public Health Dangui Oduber of Aruba, Dorothy Pietersz-Janga of Curaçao and Omar Ottley of St. Maarten. (Aruba government photo)
ORANJESTAD/THE HAGUE--Aruba, Curaçao, St. Maarten and the Netherlands during the four-country consultation of the public health ministers in Aruba last week reconfirmed their commitment to further their collaboration in healthcare.
The four countries in the Dutch Kingdom have shown that they are able to work closely together in healthcare during the COVID-19 pandemic. These experiences during the pandemic made extra clear how important it is to work together to improve healthcare for residents of the Dutch Caribbean.
Inspired by these positive experiences, the four countries made agreements to take new steps in the coming period. The agreements, among other things, concern the improving of the pandemic readiness in the Caribbean, collaboration in crisis situations such as hurricanes, prevention policy to combat obesity as well as better cooperation between hospitals to enhance the quality of care and to jointly train nursing personnel.
Present during the four-country consultation in Aruba were Ministers Dangui Oduber of Aruba, Dorothy Pietersz-Janga of Curaçao and Omar Ottley of St. Maarten and State Secretary of Public Health Maarten van Ooijen of the Netherlands and their delegations, and a number of healthcare professionals.
It was concluded during the meetings that there are both similarities and differences in the healthcare systems and that there are more possibilities to collaborate to strengthen healthcare within the Caribbean part of the kingdom.
Delegations talked about the implementation of the International Healthcare Regulation (IHR), pandemic readiness, collaboration during crises, legislation in mental healthcare, prevention, quality benchmarks and accreditation of healthcare professionals and institutions, care education and collaboration between the hospitals through the Dutch Caribbean Hospital Alliance (DCHA).
Several actions were formulated and workgroups have been installed to give content to the agreements in the coming period. Agreements that will be worked on include the investment in a surveillance system to monitor infectious diseases and non-communicable diseases, collaboration to access medication and medical materials to prevent pandemics and crises in the region, exchanging of knowledge about health-improving interventions, setting up joint quality benchmarks/systems and creating a trajectory for Dutch Caribbean students to do medical specialisation.
Within the setting of the hospitals’ collaboration effort DCHA it will become possible to intensify cooperation in other areas in order to improve efficiency, quality and sustainability of care for the region.
Topics where collaboration will be continued and expanded include joint purchases, training and education, pandemic readiness and an efficient organisation of hospital care on the islands. The three ministers and state secretary expressed their content about the agreements reached.