The educational foundation WeConnect in a joint effort with their partner Asosiashon Mediko di Antias (Association Medics of the Antilles) will be organizing the Care Caribbean Meet-up on Saturday November 24th of 2018. On this day several health institutions and healthcare professionals will come together at the World Trade Center in The Hague, the Netherlands. The Care Caribbean meet up will primarily focus on the improvements that can be made in facilitating the return of local healthcare professionals who studied abroad. The world-renowned oncologist Herbert (Bob) Pinedo from Curaçao will be present as guest of honor and will give a presentation as keynote speaker.
In the last few years, WeConnect has been making great strides in Capacity Building on the islands. With this meet-up, they aim to further stimulate the return of healthcare professionals from the Dutch Caribbean islands who have studied in the Netherlands. These are students and young professionals who know the culture, dominate the native languages perfectly and share a genuine concern for the islands. “There is a lot of competition in the healthcare field, so we are encouraging employers to come up with attractive incentives to be able to attract these Caribbean students back to the islands. Think about for example nurses, physiotherapists, speech therapists; an attractive job with the possibility to further develop themselves is important for this generation of young professionals”, says Tanja Fraai, WeConnect manager.
Young healthcare professionals
The Association Medics of the Antilles (AMA) was established last year with the goal to bring together young university educated healthcare professionals and students from the islands who live in the Netherlands. The association not only consists of medical students from the former Dutch Antilles and Aruba but also includes graduated doctors, pharmacists and many other healthcare professionals. In less than a year the association has quickly grown to include over 200 members. One of the main goals of AMA is to create a platform where supply and demand in the healthcare field can meet each other. They try to connect healthcare professionals with Dutch Caribbean roots, who have studied in the Netherlands, to the hospitals and healthcare organizations on the islands of Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Saint Martin, Saba, and Statia. To this goal, AMA has spent the last year establishing a database consisting of the Dutch Caribbean students and healthcare professionals living in the Netherlands. President of AMA Lung Jeung: “The Care Caribbean meet-up is an excellent opportunity for us to engage in a conversation with all of the stakeholders in the medical sector at the same time, where we can talk about how to accommodate the supply and demand in the best possible way. We have hundreds of (future) doctors who cannot wait to return to the islands”.
The meet-up has been set up to be as interactive as possible. The principal goal is together with all of the partners involved to help design a long-term strategy to make it attractive for the Dutch Caribbean healthcare professionals to return to the islands. Some other topics that will be discussed during the event include prevention, the education of future healthcare professionals with a pre-planned goal to return to the island, as well as future collaboration between the islands within the Dutch Kingdom. The famous oncologist Bob Pinedo, a role model for the younger generation, will give a presentation on the great endeavours he has made throughout his career for his birth country Curaçao. The health ministers of all four countries in the Dutch Kingdom, as well as representatives of the various local hospitals have been asked to contribute in the debate on how to draw on local paramedics and medical personnel to the islands. After the interactive public session there will be several booths where the healthcare organisations can present themselves and interact with the attendees.
Several healthcare institutions had a positive reaction and have confirmed their presence at this event. The Horacio Oduber Hospitaal of Aruba, the Saint Martin Medical Center, as well as the Health Insurance Office BES and The White Yellow Cross Care foundation of Saint Martin will fly over to the Netherlands especially for the event. A number of students and healthcare professionals from a wide range of specialties have already signed up for this event, consisting of dietitians in training, anesthesiologists, ophthalmologists and doctors working in fields ranging from psychiatry to cardiology. “We are doing our best to reach as many students and professionals of several educational levels (MBO, HBO and university) by trying to reach out to all of the different educational institutions in the Netherlands” says Tanja Fraai. The Dutch Ministry of Public Health, Wellbeing and Sports is sponsoring the meet-up, which will be free of charge for all attendees. Additional information can be found via the website https://www.medikoantiano.com/care-caribbean.