Honorable Minister of the Dutch Ministry of Public Health, Welfare and Sports (VWS) Ernst Kuipers and VWS State Secretary Maarten van Ooijen paid a working visit to St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) on Tuesday, December 20th, 2022.
During the meeting, Minister Kuipers and State Secretary van Ooijen were given a presentation that provided an introduction to SMMC, an overview of projects made possible by the Trust Fund which is funded by the Netherlands and managed by the World Bank, an update on the St. Maarten General Hospital (SMGH) project and an insight into the Dutch Caribbean Hospital Alliance (DCHA). The focus of the presentation was on SMMC’s efforts to procure and provide high-quality healthcare to its patients from St. Maarten, Saba, and St. Eustatius. The presentation was followed by a tour of SMMC’s facilities.
Herbert Barnard, Gert-Jan Rietveld, and Bob Harms of Zorg en Jeugd Caribisch Nederland (ZJCN) and Chris Johnson, Head of the Dutch Representation Office (VPN) on St. Maarten were also part of Minister Kuipers and State Secretary Van Ooijen’s delegation.
Reflecting on the visit, SMMC’s Medical Director, Dr. Felix Holiday said “it was our pleasure to host the Minister and the State Secretary for their first working visit to SMMC. They were impressed by the work done by the entire team here at SMMC as well as the strides made with the establishment of the Dutch Caribbean Health Care Alliance. We look forward to continued collaboration with the Ministry of VWS, ZJCN, and all of our healthcare partners within the Kingdom”.
Minister Kuipers and State Secretary Van Ooijen also remarked “It was great to see how SMMC is constantly developing to improve their care and expand the available care they offer to patients in the whole region. Among other things we spoke about the situation during the Covid-pandemic and after hurricane Irma. Our compliments to SMMC for their perseverance through both of these challenges and their work towards being continuously resilient to new challenges in the future.”