Reader’s Opinion: A driving force for change

POSTED: 02/19/13 12:38 PM

The new Director of the Pan American Health Organization (Paho) Dr. Carissa Etienne, said recently that she will be working closely with Paho member countries to extend the benefits of health progress to all people in the Americas which also include the Caribbean, with priority of accelerating progress toward universal access to quality health care.

Dr. Etienne points out that no other single achievement would contribute more to ensuring a long, dignified and productive life when the people of a nation have universal access to quality health care.

The Americas have made impressive health progress, with major gains in life expectancy, declining infant mortality, high rates of immunization, improved nutrition, expanded access to health care and health education, and newly available medicines and health technologies.

Country Sint Maarten is looking at a number of areas where health care is concerned.

Public Health Minister Cornelius de Weever recently informed parliament that there would be an increased partnership with regional health care providers; Social Health Insurance provider SZV is also currently finalizing its care contract plan, referral system, cost efficiency and quality assurance; the SZV and the minister visited the Dominican Republic and Colombia to establish a working relationship with health care entities in those countries.

The governing program of the coalition calls and also supports the expansion of the St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC), therefore meeting the needs of a growing and changing population as well as expanding its services to accommodate more medical specialties and support services.

Government also intends to phase in a new health insurance system, “The National Health Insurance” based on the philosophy of equal access to essential health services. The governing program also states in its improved wellness and health care chapter that the government intends to pursue the development of medical tourism on St. Maarten.

Dr. Etienne stated that health can be a driving force for change, where improved health and access to health care will translate into stronger economies, more cohesive societies, and in nations better able to integrate and compete in the global world.

What Dr. Etienne has said in the aforementioned paragraph holds very true. We must as a nation make health the driving force for change. A healthy nation leads to an even more productive nation which translates not only into the wealth of being healthy, but into economic wealth as well.

Our aim as a country must be to continue to advance as a society, capable of sustaining our own development and providing for a high standard of living for all our people and for generations to come.

Roddy Heyliger

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