St. Maarten is now the recipient of the much-needed medical equipment sent this morning on the Military C 17 aircraft, from the Netherlands at approximately 2:00 pm on Sunday, April 5, 2020, to SXM Airport. The equipment was received by a delegation consisting of Honorable Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs, Dr. Felix Holiday representing St. Maarten Medical Centre (SMMC), ESF 6 Coordinator Fenna Arnell, SXM Airport CEO Brian Mingo, SXM Airport COO Michel Hyman and Head of the Dutch Representation Office in St. Maarten Chris Johnson.
Along with six (6) Intensive Care (IC) beds including the medical equipment, St. Maarten received Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), COVID-19 testing kits, Intensive Care Unit (ICU) medicine, and COVID-19 medication to treat COVID-19 patients. The equipment consists of a Military ICU facility which will be assembled tomorrow by the marines and the fire department. The so-called “Hospitainer” will house six (6) fully equipped ICU beds with six (6) additional ventilators to be used within the compound of SMMC. These additional six (6) spaces at SMMC are intended for the COVID-19 patients for St. Maarten.
In addition to these six (6) IC beds, six (6) more IC beds including equipment is expected to arrive in a second shipment. The current six (6) IC beds provided today, to St. Maarten is amongst the forty-two (42) IC beds that the Netherlands has committed to the Dutch Caribbean. The State Secretary of Public Health, Welfare and Sport Paul Blokhuis and his VWS Ministry were instrumental in the coordination of the medical equipment for the island with strong intervention from the Netherlands National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM). According to RIVM, St. Maarten was the first among the islands to receive their units, given the medical capacity and limited resources on the islands.
Additionally, St. Maarten is expected to receive some technical support in the form of additional medical personnel. The team of medical professionals will arrive in St. Maarten on April 7 and 8, from the United States and are all screened COVID-19 negative.
“This forms the first tranche of the aid that the Netherlands has pledged in ensuring the Dutch Caribbean islands and countries can properly deal with the pandemic within our region. We continue to pledge to assist each other where possible, especially our sister islands Saba and St. Eustatius for whom we serve as overflow for medical emergencies even under normal circumstances. We also offer condolences to the Netherlands for the more than 1000 deaths recorded as a result of this COVID-19 crisis and wish each and every citizen of the kingdom and the world much strength as we band together to beat back this monster,” disclosed Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs.
The distribution of the PPEs will be registered and distributed by the Public Health Department who will be distributing them to all health care professionals who are involved in the care of COVID-19 patients and are serving at the front-lines of this untimely pandemic.