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Training healthcare professionals in the Dutch Caribbean

Training healthcare professionals in the Dutch Caribbean

~ Caribbean Health Academy (CARIBHA) training program ~


The Dutch Caribbean islands have been experiencing a severe shortage of specialized nurses for the acute care units since the start of the COVID pandemic and the rapid increase in patients with the disease. Amsterdam UMC’s training institute, VUmc Academy, responded quickly to the crisis in cooperation with the hospitals on the islands, which together form the Dutch Caribbean Hospital Alliance (DCHA U.A. i.o). A new Basic Acute Care (BAC) course was started with funding from the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, and is being taken by over 100 nurses from Aruba, Curaçao, Bonaire, St. Maarten and St. Eustatius. On March 28, the first 31 nurses will receive their certificates in the presence of the State Secretary for Health, Welfare and Sport of the Netherlands (M. van Ooijen) and the Ministers of Health of Aruba (D. Oduber), Curaçao (D. Pietersz-Janga) and St. Maarten (O. Ottley).

The Basic Acute Care (BAC) course is part of the training program of the Caribbean Health Academy (CARIBHA). VUmc Academy was commissioned by and received funding from the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport to train nurses in the hospitals of Aruba, Curaçao, Bonaire, St. Maarten and St. Eustatius. It is a unique achievement to train such a large group of nurses in both Dutch and English in such a short period of time. The training program will enable the islands to respond more flexibly, and thereby effectively, to acute care situations, for example during a pandemic.

In addition to the more than 100 participants in the BAC training course, approximately 800 participants on the islands have also taken advantage of task-oriented training and courses in COVID treatment and protocols. These courses are also provided under the umbrella of CARIBHA and are taught on the specially developed digital CARIBHA platform. In addition to the digital courses, trainers are on hand in the hospitals to supervise the practical part of the program. The training program ensures interaction between the Netherlands and the Dutch Caribbean and is also well-adapted to the local context.

Facts and figures

  • VUmc Academy commissioned by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport: November 2020
  • Start of the CARIBHA task-oriented training and launch of the CARIBHA digital platform: March 2021
  • First BAC group starts (including preparatory program): June 2021
  • First BAC certificates awarded: March 28, 2022
  • Total number of CARIBHA BAC groups/training courses: four in Dutch, one in English
  • Total number of participants in the CARIBHA BAC program: more than 100 participants
  • Total number of participants in the digital platform, including task-oriented training: 800 participants
  • Islands participating in the BAC program: Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, St. Maarten, St. Eustatius
  • Islands participating in task-oriented training and digital platform: Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, St. Maarten, St. Eustatius, Saba

Photo credit: Kim Hendriksen

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