PHILIPSBURG:--- On Tuesday, October 9th, members of the Trust Fund Steering Committee, Marcel Gumbs and Frans Weekers were updated on the progress and plans for the new St. Maarten General Hospital.
The St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) has signed an agreement to receive a USD 25 million grant from the Trust Fund that is funded by The Netherlands and managed by the World Bank. The grant will be utilized to improve services of the current hospital, while the new hospital is being built, and to upgrade the design of the new hospital to withstand category 5+ hurricanes.
Chairman Board of Directors Kees Klarenbeek, accompanied by Medical Director Felix Holiday and managing staff at SMMC welcomed the delegation and gave an in-depth presentation on the progress of the project.
Weekers voiced his support for the project during the meeting: “The plans for the new St. Maarten General Hospital, incorporate all aspects of the type of projects which we like to see realized out of the Sint Maarten Recovery, Reconstruction and Resilience Trust Fund”.
Some of the key actions and new services linked to the new St. Maarten General Hospital are: Joint Commission International (JCI) accreditation, an increased capacity from 66 to 110 beds, continuing education sessions for current St. Maarten Medical Center staff and new specialties available “at-home” such as urology, neurology, orthopedics, hematology, ophthalmology and pulmonology and four state-of-the-art operating theatres.
These upgrades will greatly enhance the quality of healthcare on Sint Maarten and reduce the need for medical referrals abroad.
“A new and improved hospital is direly needed. I am happy to see it become a reality,” stated Gumbs at the end of the presentation.
Weekers, who is accompanied by Hans van der Stelt, Program Director Reconstruction, Netherlands Ministry of the Interior & Kingdom Relations, arrived on October 7 for a working visit. The purpose of the visit is to get a first-hand update of the progress of the reconstruction in preparation for the next official Steering Committee meeting in November.