KRALENDIJK – On Friday, June 2, an exercise took place involving organizations from the 6 islands in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom. The main objective of this exercise was to practice the pre-evacuation of patients from Saba, Sint Eustatius, and Sint Maarten in the event of a hurricane crisis.
The responsibility for ensuring continuity of care on the BES islands lies with Zorg en Jeugd Caribisch Nederland (ZJCN), a division of the Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Sport (VWS). Due to the geographical interdependence between Saba, Sint Eustatius, and Sint Maarten, collaboration with the leeward islands was established to facilitate this exercise.
Various medical institutions and government bodies from the 6 islands participated in the exercise. These included Fundashon Mariadal (Bonaire), Sint Maarten Medical Center (Sint Maarten), Horacio Oduber Hospital (Aruba), Curaçao Medical Center (Curaçao), Queen Beatrix Medical Center (Sint Eustatius), and SabaCares (Saba). The Ministry of Public Health, Social Development, and Labor of Sint Maarten, the Dutch Ministries of the Interior and Kingdom Relations (BZK), and Health, Welfare, and Sport (VWS), as well as the Representation of the Netherlands in Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten, were also present to emphasize their respective responsibilities in medical pre-evacuation.
In 2022, the State Secretary for Health, Welfare, and Sport and the health ministers of the countries decided to enhance the cooperation and preparedness in inter-island medical care. An important aspect of this collaboration is medical pre-evacuation, which is crucial during a (threatening) crisis to ensure the continuity of care when physical safety is at risk, such as during a hurricane, or when there is a shortage of medical resources and/or personnel due to a crisis.