The Dutch Government wants one joint organisation in the Dutch Caribbean to combat infectious diseases and is willing to contribute to that cause. Dutch Minister of Public Health, Wellbeing and Sports Edith Schippers stated this in a recent document to the Second Chamber in relation to the proposed changes to the Public Health Law for the Dutch public entities Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba.
The Public Health Law has to be amended, so Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba can comply with the 2005 adapted International Health Regulation of the World Health Organisation WHO to combat infectious diseases. Expertise in the area of infectious diseases on the three islands is scarce because of their small size. Technical support is necessary and that is why it would be ideal to set up an organisation to combat infectious diseases together with Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten, stated Schippers.
The Minister is willing to offer support to this organisation via the Dutch Institute for Public Health and Environment RIVM. As a sub-focal point, the organisation would execute the International Health Regulation by reporting to the WHO.
The organisation could also advise the Executive Councils of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba, as well as the Governments of Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten in the area of infectious diseases. Schippers informed Dutch Parliament that she is currently researching the feasibility of this joint organisation.
The liberal democratic VVD party and Christian Democratic Party CDA in the Second Chamber fully support Schippers’ initiative to combine expertise in one organisation for all six islands, as this could aide in reducing the relatively high number of HIV/Aids infections in the Dutch Caribbean.