On Monday September 27th, the Honorable Minister Ottley
and his cabinet staff visited the White and Yellow Cross Care Foundation. He
was welcomed by members of the board and the Operations Manager of the
Foundation, Mrs. Bregje Boetekees. Mrs. Boatekees
gave an overview of the origins of the foundation, which started in elderly
care almost 50 years ago. From elderly and nursing home care, the services of
the district nursing and later also the Sister Basilia Center. The Foundation
has grown tremendously over the years.
In 2012, the islands first and only rehabilitation center was
opened, offering a multidisciplinary care approach to assist clients to recover
their independence after stroke, amputation, motor vehicle accidents or trauma,
resulting in (temporary) loss of function. This care product is now operational
for more than 8 years, and an evaluation of the medical data of these clients
show that on Sint Maarten patients who lose a limb due to amputation are on
average 15 years younger than those in Curacao.
With 13.4% of the Sint Maarten
population suffering from diabetes; preventative and curative foot care is
essential to avoid amputations. Dr. Spencer, who is a board member of WYCCF and
active in the Sint Maarten Diabetes Foundation, invited Minister Ottley to
attend the upcoming one-day mini symposium on diabetic foot care on Saturday
November 13th, one day before World Diabetes Day.
Amputations are preventable and the
DFS has for several years now arranged for a podiatrist to visit Sint Maarten,
with the great support of donors to fund her airfare and stay. WYCCF is now in
the process to evaluate the daily tariff of rehabilitation care, which was set
in 2013 and is no longer covering the operational cost.
The Minister was pleased to learn
that Sint Maarten has its first Hospice, located in the Sint Martin’s Home of the
WYCCF. He toured this facility and was impressed with the warm, client centered
approach of the team. Ensuring that persons who are terminally ill have a
peaceful transition and are kept comfortable is very important, and with
rooming-in available for family members, this is well organized.
Minister Ottley praised the
foundation for being very proactive in their COVID-19 response. Not only to prevent
infections among clients and staff, but also in the roll-out of the vaccination
campaign and to assist the SMMC where possible. Vaccination coverage among the
staff of WYCCF is now at 70.2% and the foundation continues to focus efforts to
increase this further. In addition, staff is screened twice weekly via rapid
antigen testing and clients can receive their visitors in an outdoor, “covid proof” setting to ensure contact is
maintained, in a safe manner.
The visit ended with a tour of the
rehabilitation center and the elderly care department, where the foundation is
in the process of constructing a therapeutic swimming pool. Minister Ottley
engaged with several senior residents who were happy to welcome him in their