Pilot Project with Medical Referrals Saba

During the pilot Saba will become responsible for the logistics of medical referrals abroad. Photo: Government of Saba.

The Bottom, Saba-

SABA—Saba will get the opportunity to arrange the logistics of medical referrals abroad following a positive meeting with the Ministry of Public Health, Wellbeing and Sports (VWS) in The Hague earlier this week.

During the meeting with Acting Secretary-General of the VWS Ministry Gea van Craaikamp, Commissioner Bruce Zagers, representing the Saba Executive Council, and Island Secretary Tim Muller, it was decided to work out the details for a pilot project whereby Saba would become responsible for the logistics of medical referrals abroad.

In its desire to be granted a greater responsibility in several areas, including medical referrals, the Public Entity Saba had approached the Ministry of VWS with the idea to start a pilot project for local authorities to handle the logistics of medical referrals.

The Ministry of VWS was positive about starting a pilot later this year. “This is good news. By transferring this task to Saba as a pilot project, we can improve the human aspect of medical referrals. We know that Saba patients are facing logistical issues. It sometimes takes several days for patients to reach their destination. Communication is problematic when patients strand in St. Maarten because they missed their connecting flight. Sometimes there are issues with doctor appointments and special assistance,” said Commissioner Zagers.

The Saba Health Care Foundation (SHCF), which manages the medical center, and the Public Entity Saba will work out the details of the pilot project with the Ministry of VWS and ZVK in the coming period. The ambition is to start the pilot later this year.       

Saba’s Executive Council sent a letter to the Ministry of VWS mid-April in anticipation of the April 30 meeting in The Hague. In this letter, an outline was given of the several positive initiatives of the Ministry, the executing organization Health Insurance Office ZVK and Saba.

Some of these initiatives are: the transfer of preventive tasks of the Youth and Family Center CJG pilot to the Public Entity Saba, the additional subsidy Saba receives to carry out tasks in the area of public health care and the renovation of the A.M. Edwards Medical Center.

Parties aim to make the pilot on Saba a success, yielding positive results for people who need to go abroad for medical treatment.

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