Every year, Aruba has to send around 200 cancer patients abroad for radiotherapy, as it lacks the facilities to provide the care they need. However this is set to change thanks to a five-year agreement between the IMSAN medical center in San Nicolas and the American hospital chain Baptist Health International (BHI) of South Florida.
The deal, which will see the creation of Aruba’s first oncology center, will mean that patients will be able to receive treatment closer to home. IMSAN is to be converted into a hospital that will provide advanced medical treatment not only for the people of Aruba but for patients from other Caribbean islands as well. The conversion is expected to take about a year.
“It is [BHI’s] first move into this area,” says Dr. Visser. “We are going to do radiotherapy, chemotherapy, nuclear medicine, and continue developing it to a complete cancer hospital.”
BHI will also assist in developing a state-of-the-art center for the treatment of diabetes, which is prevalent throughout the Caribbean, and in converting the emergency department into an urgent care center to reduce the pressure on the island’s emergency care facilities.
Dr. Visser sees big potential for e-medicine and believes Aruba could become a center for medical tourism.
“We are going to be digitalized, meaning that a doctor here can work on a patient while a doctor in Miami does as well. All the vitals and the scans will be digitalized. We are going to create a whole new sense of how we can optimize care in countries that do not have super-specialists.”
Elderly tourists to Aruba can rest assured that if something happens, they will be able to connect with the U.S.