De Weever discusses cooperation with Alzheimer Association

POSTED: 06/7/11 2:18 PM

St. Maarten – Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, Cornelius de Weever, met with the President and the Secretary of the board of the Sint Maarten Alzheimer Foundation (SMAF) Mr Keith Franca and drs Raymond Jessurun on Friday June 3, 2011. The meeting was held at the association’s request, who wanted to inform the Minister about the objectives, the programmes, the activities and the organizational structure. They also gave an overview of what they’d done since the foundation was formally established in February, 2010.
The minister welcomed private social initiatives from organizations such as the SMAF and applauded the help from all the individuals and organizations that are working together with the SMAF to raise the public awareness of dementia related illnesses and Alzheimer and to improve the care for the persons affected by the disease. The Minister has suggested the association seek collaboration with the policy advisors at the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, with the ultimate goal being the realization of the needs of people with dementia or Alzheimer and its affect on their careers. The cooperation should also develop policy and legislation to protect the interests of dementia and Alzheimer patients and their family members in St. Maarten.
The association’s activities include an awareness campaign together with radio host Valerie van Putten, every Thursday afternoon from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on PJD3. This weekly radio program started in March this year and features interviews with family care givers and professional caregivers about their experience with dementia and Alzheimer disease.
Starting this month the Rotary Club and the association will launch a daily awareness campaign. The Lions Club has also been a partner in the association’s awareness campaign, having invited the SMAF to participate in their Annual Health and Wellness Fair in March for the second year. The Lions Club is also working with the association on a lecture on Alzheimer especially for men. The SMAF awareness campaign will culminate in September this year with special activities to commemorate World Alzheimer’s Day 2011.

Needs Assessment
The association has already made an arrangement with the Windward Island Medical Association (WIMA) and with the White and Yellow Cross Foundation to conduct an assessment of the amount of persons affected by dementia or Alzheimer. The assessment, which will be carried out by the district nurses, will also give detailed information of the needs of the patients with dementia and of their family care givers on the one hand, the needs and the desires of the professional care givers to provide the best quality care to these affected persons on the other hand about.

The foundation also queried what the government had done with the 2010 report that was presented to Commissioner Hyacinth Richardson on September 21, 2010 – World Alzheimer’s Day. They were particularly interested in whether government had made any progress with making dementia and Alzheimer high priority. The minister was also handed copies of the 2008, 2009 and 2010 annual reports of Alzheimer Disease International.

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