Refugee Care in the Caribbean

The refugee crisis is not limited to Syria, Afghanistan and South Sudan, but a worldwide phenomenon. We are currently witnessing a massive global migration unlike any seen before. More than 68 million people around the world are displaced from their homes, migrating from south to north and from east to west.

According to UNHCR around 2.3 million Venezuelan citizens have left their country since 2015. Many of them are stranded in neighbouring countries but the nearby Caribbean islands have also experienced a large influx. Until now more than 26.000 refugees ended up on the island of Curacao and 16.000 on the island Aruba. Financial constraints and fear of local authorities prohibit most undocumented migrants access to healthcare. Many emergencies, sometimes life- threating, such as diabetes, hypertension, pregnancy complications and infections could have been prevented by regular check-ups. Both the consequences for the patients and the costs could be greatly reduced by a specialized medical program targeting this migrant population. A young Dutch physician Elisa Janszen is therefore setting up a primary health care clinic on Curacao. Health[e]Foundation is supporting the mission of her initiative ‘Fundashon Salú pa Tur’ that provides primary care to uninsured migrants in the Caribbean region (Curacao, Aruba and Bonaire).

Health[e]Foundation offers the volunteering GPs and specialists that work in the clinic access to the online Refugee Care[e]Education course. The course was developed to help healthcare workers understand the status of refugees: Getting familiar with the reasons for leaving their homeland, the difficulties during their flight, and the insecure status at the place of settlement. The course will help health workers communicate better, diagnose faster and treat the common problems that refugees encounter.

The new Fundashon Salú pa Tur’ needs support on different levels in many areas, ranging from maternity care and child care, infectious diseases prevention and treatment, to HIV treatment, care and prevention. Health[e]Foundation plans to provide further support to the foundation where possible.