Exercise medical pre-evacuation on 6 islands of the Kingdom
In 2022, Minister of VSA Omar Ottley, and the other health Ministers of Aruba and Curacao along with the State Secretary for Health, Welfare, and Sport of the Netherlands decided to increase inter-island medical cooperation during disasters. An important part of that collaboration concerns medical pre-evacuation. Medical pre-evacuation is essential in the event of an (imminent) crisis in order to guarantee continuity of care, where this may be endangered (such as in the event of a hurricane). This concerns patients that need Intensive Care, dialysis, chemo or other care like babies born prematurely and high risked pregnant women.
On Friday, June 2, an exercise took place in which organizations from the 6 islands in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom were involved. The purpose of this was to practice the pre-evacuation of patients from Saba, St. Eustatius, and St. Maarten in the event of a threat of a hurricane.
On the 6 islands, various medical institutions and government bodies participated in the exercise. These were Sint Maarten Medical Center, Fundashon Mariadal (Bonaire), 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, SZV, the Dutch Ministries of the Interior and Kingdom Relations and the Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Sport, and the Representation of the Netherlands in Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten were also represented on the basis of their own responsibility in medical pre-evacuation.
History teaches us what kind of impact a hurricane can have on the island’s population. This exercise is an important step towards increased preparedness during hurricane season and towards enhanced cooperation between all islands within the Kingdom, which in many cases depend on each other in crises.