The formation of the Saba Hyperbaric Society is complete, concluding a multi-year process to repair and transition Saba’s hyperbaric chamber operations. The creation of the Foundation and the Supervisory Committee was a critical and final step to the reestablishment of a functional hyperbaric program on Saba.
“It was great to come together with people from the business community, Saba Conservation Foundation, the medical centre and the government, to work on a common goal of getting the hyperbaric chamber up and running again. Despite past challenges, we all realised the importance of developing a strategy for the future of this service; it is good for the island and for tourism,” said Dr Koen Hulshof of the Public Health Department. Commissioner Bruce Zagers added, “A fully functioning hyperbaric chamber is of crucial importance to the Saban dive community and the island’s dive tourism efforts. We value the health and wellness of the divers visiting Saba as much as the ocean and marine life surrounding our island which they come explore.”
The Hyperbaric Chamber facility was closed several years ago due to maintenance concerns with the chamber. Made possible with a grant from Saba Island Government, the chamber has been repaired and subsequently evaluated by Divers Alert Network (DAN) as meeting the standards necessary to qualify for treatment reimbursement for divers with DAN insurance.
The Supervisory Committee will act as the administrative team for the facility. The current Committee members are Dr Koen Hulshof, who is the Committee Chairperson and represents Island Government, Dr. Gijs Koot, representing Saba Healthcare, Kai Wulf, along with Diver Operator representation by Lynn Costenaro (Sea Saba), Cheri Waterfield (Saba Deep) and Clay McCardell (Explorer Ventures).
As described in the Chamber Society business plan, the three objectives for this new administrative team are very straightforward; first, provide quality emergency medical services for Saba and the surrounding islands for treatment of Decompression Sickness and related illnesses; secondly, operate the facility using a staff of well trained volunteers; and finally, maintain the hyperbaric facility within the given budget and to DAN standards.
“It is our goal as a Committee to create an operating model that is safe, practical and financially responsible, while leveraging best practices established in the past,” explains Chamber Coordinator Cheri Waterfield. “To make it all work, we will be hugely dependent on a staff of volunteers to assist with the treatments. These volunteers will be invaluable to making the program a success.”
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer to assist with treatments please contact Cheri Waterfield at 416-6301 or email Sabachambercoordinator@gmail.com .