Van Rijn assures continued commitment towards islands

Dutch State Secretary of Public Health, Wellbeing and Sports Martin van Rijn promised after his visit to Bonaire and Saba late September that he would continue to work in the best interest of providing optimal health care and to prevent domestic violence on the islands.

In a letter he sent to the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament this week, Van Rijn stated that his primary focal points for the coming months would be to continue investing in district care and improving the infrastructure to combat and prevent domestic violence and child abuse.

“It is important to continue the trajectory of improvements and to further extend the quality,” stated Van Rijn, whose working visit to Bonaire and Saba from September 29 to October 2 focused on youth care, long-term care and the sharing of experience with both local professionals and clients in these areas of care.

Van Rijn said he was very impressed with the work that was done on the islands. “The health care professionals, who talked with great passion about their work, left a great impression on me. I was able to get a good view of the work that is done at the various institutions.”

The State Secretary showed appreciation for the fact that the majority of care providers once started as a voluntary initiative, many times by involved parents. Over the years, the institutions have grown into more professional organisations, which are now funded through Health Insurance Office ZVK or the Ministry of Public Health, Wellbeing and Sports VWS.

Van Rijn was glad to have taken note of the positive developments at The Home for the elderly in Saba, which will now also provide day-time activities for some 15 residents in the neighbourhood. The clients will be transported by a bus made available by the local government. “A great cooperation!”

According to Van Rijn, there was much room for improvement in the preventive aspect of youth care on the two islands. There is little awareness of the harmful effects on children of neglect and violence. “Parents themselves were often faced with poverty and related problems when they were younger.”

Awareness of parents needs to be raised, parents should be able to ask for help, and should also get this, stated Van Rijn, who praised the discussion in the community on the raising of children and the prevention of child abuse. Investing in the further professionalising of youth care is needed, he added.

The theme domestic violence and child abuse was discussed with the local governments as well. Action in this area will be taken within short. Van Rijn said his ministry will be working on the setting up of a hotline for domestic violence and child abuse in close cooperation with the local governments and other stakeholders. Structural funds are available for this project through the Ministry of VWS.

The Daily Herald.

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