State Secretary Van Ooijen: Healthcare and youth care Caribbean Netherlands comparable to European Netherlands



Healthcare and youth care in the special municipalities of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba must be comparable to the European Netherlands. This is the underlying principle in the vision that state secretary Van Ooijen (VWS) has set out for developing healthcare in the Caribbean Netherlands in the future. In recent years, the disparity has been reduced considerably, and facilities have been upgraded to an acceptable level. Now that the foundations have been laid, there is an opportunity to further improve the quality and availability of offered services.

Tailor-made health system

State secretary Van Ooijen (VWS): “Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius are fully fledged municipalities of the Netherlands, and that means a comparable level of healthcare must also be available. This is something I want to help realise together with the local authorities, involved healthcare organisations and the residents of the Caribbean Netherlands. However, ‘comparable’ does not mean that everything from the European Netherlands will be copied like for like. The aim is to create a health system that has been tailor-made for the Caribbean Netherlands, bearing in mind the small scale of the islands.”

Quality and availability of care services

The quality and availability of offered services are now being addressed in all facets of healthcare and youth care. Elderly people and people with disabilities must receive the care that they deserve, also in light of the ageing population. Services for youngsters with complex issues must also be improved. Exercise and a healthy lifestyle must become part of the daily lives of all inhabitants. When it comes to public health, it is important for the local branches of the special municipalities to be developed further. Finally, if care cannot be organised within the Caribbean Netherlands, we will arrange it within the region wherever possible. In this case, the principle is: as close as possible and as far as necessary. 

Cooperation within the Kingdom

Curaçao, Aruba and Sint Maarten (CAS) are autonomous countries within the Kingdom and are thus personally responsible for their health system and public health. However, we are partly reliant on each other for the availability of good healthcare throughout the Kingdom. That is why the Dutch Caribbean Hospital Alliance (DCHA) was founded recently, and is a partnership between various hospitals in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom.

To ensure high-quality care in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom, it is very important for the four countries to promote this partnership within the Kingdom.