Ministry VSA and PAHO identify key areas for technical cooperation

from left to right are: Mr. Jean Claude Parisse, PAHO Administrative support, Ms. Joy Arnel SG Ministry VSA, Dr. Taraleen Malcolm Advisor Non Communicable Disease & Mental Health, Minister Lee, Dr. Erica Wheeler PAHO/WHO representative for St. Maarten and Regional Director for the Dutch Caribbean, Ms. Nicola Taylor Projectleader for the Dutch Caribbean and Ms. Fenna Arnell Head department of Public Health.


PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — The Departments of Public Health and Social Development have identified priority areas for technical cooperation between Sint Maarten and PAHO for the next six years. PAHO representatives Dr. Erica Wheeler, PAHO/WHO representative for Sint Maarten and Regional Director of the Dutch Caribbean, Dr. Taraleen Malcolm, Advisor NCD & Mental Health, Ms. Nicola Taylor, Projectleader of the Dutch Caribbean and Mr. Jean Claude Parisse, Administrative Support facilitated the meetings and workshops that took place last week.

The Hanlon Prioritization exercise was conducted in order to determine the priority areas for technical cooperation over the next 6 years period. The method is a widely used method by PAHO to help identify priority areas in health care systems in the region. Outcomes for Sint Maarten suggest that the implementation of General Health Insurance legislation would greatly enable local health care reform, with the focus on preventative care.

The Ministry of VSA has requested the technical cooperation of PAHO to conduct the required missions to support Sint Maarten in bringing awareness of General Health Insurance and the proposed changes.

The main outcomes identified for technical cooperation include:

  • Strengthening universal health access as an approach for improving access to health services for all persons
  • Health in all Policies as the strategy for promoting intersectoral action for achieving key health outcomes, such as reducing risk factors for NCDs
  • Strengthening capacity in human resource planning within the health sector with an emphasis on the planned expansion of hospital services

A two-day workshop with PAHO was also hosted to develop a National Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) Multisectoral Action Plan (NCD MAP). NCD prevention and control plans address the four major NCDs: cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, and chronic respiratory diseases, mental health and the shared risk factors.

“I think PAHO is a tremendous partner in this process. The problems that we face in Sint Maarten are not unique problems to Sint Maarten. So, if other people in other places in the world, especially our Caribbean brothers and sisters, if they found solutions or found an approach that works. I am the first to say, let’s learn from what they did right and maybe learn from their mistakes as well and incorporate those lessons into what we do here in Sint Maarten.” Emil Lee, Minister VSA