A three-day health disaster conference concluded last week, which was organized by the Public Health Department of the Ministry of VSA. The work conference is a continuation of the cooperation on health care that was established between the Kingdom partners in Curaçao, in June of this year. The focus of the work conference was to seek out clarity towards the formalization of the critical areas of the disaster preparedness program, in relation to public health. One of the outcomes of the conference is that a ‘Disaster Committee’ would be established, which would be cheered by Sint Maarten.
Present were representatives from The Netherlands, Aruba, Curaçao, St. Eustatius, Saba and Bonaire. Local stakeholders such as the SMMC, Pharmacies, White & Yellow Cross, Family Doctor’s, Mental Health, SZV and Government representatives also took part in the conference. Several general agreements were made on how the countries can support each other in the event of a crisis or disaster; the respective committees will formalize these in upcoming sessions.
“Good will is there but we need to make sure that the protocols are in place.”- Emil Lee, Minister of VSA. Collective protocols need to be established and formalized for evacuation of critical and dialysis patients, for non-critical or self-evacuated persons, mental patients, for medical supplies and equipment, for medical staff including living arrangements, and a mass casualty plan. The working collaboration between labs, hospitals and pharmacies was also discussed.
“As we are looking at all of our health care policies, we want to ensure that there is a level of disaster preparedness in place with everything that we are doing. The ministry is working towards health in all policies. Having appropriate ministries take appropriate precautions helps us maintain a healthier population.” – Emil Lee, Minister of VSA.