Deputy Secretary-General of VWS visits the Windward Islands

Deputy Secretary-General Abigail Norville of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS) paid a working visit to Saba and St. Eustatius with a delegation from 3rd through the 6th of April. This visit is her introduction to the Windward Islands. The purpose of the visit is to get a good picture of the islands and the developments in the area of care, youth and welfare.

Abigail Norville

During the three-day visit to St. Eustatius, Mrs. Norville spoke with various parties and care providers, about, among other things, the experience of the services of Zorg en Jeugd Caribisch Nederland (ZJCN) and the care offered on the island. There is also attention for tasks in which the Public Entity and VWS cooperate like the approach to domestic violence and child abuse and the development of sports facilities.

Mrs. Norville says: "I have seen that people on the islands are very involved and resourceful. During my visit, I was also able to discuss the difficult challenges, such as the process of medical referrals. It moves me that the people of St. Eustatius feel that the ZJCN office is not their office. I appreciate that people have been open and transparent."

During the meeting with the supervisory board and the board of St. Eustatius Health Care Foundation (SEHCF), the care offered by the medical centre was discussed. Attention has been paid to the developments that healthcare has undergone in recent years and which improvements are needed urgently.

With all the chain partners, there was consideration for the tragic news surrounding the recent death of a patient of SEHCF.

"I deeply regret this incident and I would like to express my condolences. This is a great tragedy for the family but also for the community of St. Eustatius. I have noticed that it has stirred up a lot of emotions and I understand that. A report has been made to the Health and Youth Care Inspectorate. Based on this, an investigation will start to find out what happened," said Abigail Norville.

In discussions with the parties, it has been established that we still have a lot to do together. In ensuring good health for all residents of St Eustatius, good cooperation between VWS, SECHCF and the public body is necessary. Each party has its own role in this.

As a result of the visit, VWS, SEHCF and the public body will jointly initiate actions to offer the inhabitants of St Eustatius a better quality of care. Part of this will be that parties come together in a steering committee to ensure that improvements take place.