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Undocumented on Curaçao: What if Your Child Needs Medical Help Now?

As baby Denise lies trembling in her crib, her parents rush her to the emergency room at the Curaçao Medical Center (CMC). The baby is uninsured. What now? Baby Denise is diagnosed with a calcium deficiency, requiring bi-weekly blood tests. However, Denise isn't registered in the population registry or covered by health insurance.

The hospital refers Denise and her parents to Salú pa Tur, a foundation providing free healthcare to undocumented migrants in Curaçao. Bas Voorbrood, a retired pediatrician and one of the foundation's volunteers, explains that the cost of each blood test is approximately 25 guilders. Salú pa Tur has offered medical assistance to around 900 children under 18 years old since 2019.

However, the foundation faces delays in providing aid due to the need to secure funding, which is also depleting gradually. For instance, in the case of Gabriel, a six-month-old baby seen by pediatrician Voorbrood, the child's condition necessitates an 8,000 euro chromosomal examination.

Salú pa Tur encounters about 90 new patients monthly, primarily attending to urgent medical needs due to limited resources. However, the situation remains uncertain for many migrant children, especially those from Venezuela, as the current immigration laws of Curaçao provide minimal opportunity for regularization.

While the Curaçao government is contemplating granting residency permits to undocumented migrant children, there's uncertainty regarding the coverage and effective implementation.


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