Monday , March 27 2023

Paul Blokhuis reserves 1.5 million yearly for a healthier Caribbean Netherlands

State Secretary for Health, Welfare, and Sport, Paul Blokhuis,  has signed a Caribbean Netherlands Sport and Prevention Agreement on St. Eustatius on Tuesday, May 14th. The purpose of this agreement is a healthier Caribbean Netherlands, with more attention to prevention and the importance of a healthy lifestyle. The agreement covers five themes: obesity, alcohol abuse, smoking, and drug use, sport and exercise, sexual health, and better organizational structure in sport and prevention. Later this week Blokhuis will also sign an agreement with the Public Entity of Bonaire. For the Caribbean Sport and Prevention Agreement each year, 1.5 million euro is available. 

For Saba, the agreements on prevention and sports, form part of the broad Saba package deal. This deal is arranged through the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, also on behalf of the other ministries.

Importance of local context

Blokhuis: “Everywhere in the Kingdom, we want to make it easier for people to make healthy choices. But, it is important that we look at local conditions for what is needed here. So is smoking here less of an issue, but being overweight all the more. Half of Caribbean Netherlanders exercises insufficient. Among children, this problem is even greater. This has everything to do with the availability and accessibility of facilities on the Islands. And the solution lies sometimes in very small things, like good lighting on a sports court so everyone can also sport in the evening. But also, for example, a canopy over the Cruyff Court from the sun. This agreement really delivers what works here and what is possible. ”

Focus on youth

Also in the agreement for the Caribbean, there is great attention for the youth. With curricula in high schools about alcohol, tobacco, and drugs, offer of healthy meals in schools and non-free sports associations will also give children in the Caribbean Netherlands a healthy start. In doing so, we will make use of initiatives where we have a lot of success such as JOGG in The Netherlands and the Healthy School. Just like in the Netherlands, the fee for a lifestyle coach and the quit smoking care will be included in the basic package.

Sexual health

Other than the National Prevention Agreement, the Caribbean Sport and Prevention agreement focusses also on sexual health. The number of abortions in the Caribbean Netherlands is very high and sexually transmitted diseases like chlamydia and gonorrhea are unfortunately common. The aim of the agreement is, therefore, a decrease in the number of abortions and increase the use of contraceptives. The focus will be on better, professional sex education in schools, support for women in unintended pregnancies and the free provision of condoms.

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