The meeting was held on the request of the SMAF, who wanted to inform the Minister about the objectives, the programmes, the activities and the organizational structure of the SMAF.
Minister de Weever welcomes private social initiatives from organizations 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 diseases and Alzheimer, to improve the care for the persons affected by the disease. The Minister suggested to discuss with the policy advisors from the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour how the Ministry and the SMAF could work together to realize the assessment of the needs of the persons with dementia or Alzheimer and their careers and to develop policy and legislation to protect the interests of dementia and Alzheimer patients and their family members in Sint Maarten.
The SMAF representatives gave the Minister an overview of what the SMAF had done since the foundation was formally established in February last year.
ALZHEIMER AWARENESS CAMPAIGN
The SMAF representatives informed the Minister of their awareness campaign together with radio host Valery van Putten, every Thursday afternoon from 5-6 pm at PJD3. This is a weekly radio program that started in March this year where Valery has interviews with family care givers and professional caregivers concerning their experience with dementia and Alzheimer disease.
This month June the Rotary Club together with the SMAF will launch a daily awareness campaign in the local media. The Lions Club also has cooperated with the SMAF's awareness campaign by inviting the SMAF to participate for the second year in their Annual Health and Wellness Fair in March, and is organizing with the SMAF a lecture on Alzheimer especially for the men in our society. The SMAF awareness campaign will culminate in September this year with special activities to commemorate World Alzheimer's Day 2011.
ASSESSMENT OF THE NEEDS
The SMAF had meetings with the Windward Island Medical Association (WIMA) and with the White and Yellow Cross Foundation. Together with the home physicians and the nurses from the Sint Maarten Home and the District Nursing, the SMAF will start an assessment of the amount of persons affected by dementia or Alzheimer's in Sint Maarten.
The assessment must also give detailed information of the needs of the patients with dementia and of their family care givers on the one hand, and on the other hand about the needs and the desires of the professional care givers to provide the best quality care to these affected persons.
ALZHEIMER DEMENTIA A HEALTH PRIORITY
Furthermore the SMAF board members wanted to know from the Minister what government had done with the official report and especially with the recommendation of Alzheimer Disease International to make dementia and Alzheimer a high policy priority.
This report was presented six months ago on World Alzheimer's Day September 21, 2010 to the Executive Council of Sint Maarten, officially represented by Commissioner of Public Health, Mr. Hyacinth Richardson. The SMAF board members handed the Minister a copy of the annual reports from Alzheimer Disease International from 2008, 2009 and 2010.