Developments in the Surinamese healthcare landscape

What are current developments and challenges in the Surinamese health care sector? Based on a practical round in Suriname in mid-February 2019, where different involved (care)professionals, directors and citizens were interviewed and relevant policy documents were analyzed, it is noticed that the Surinamese care landscape is facing multiple challenges and gradually looking for stability in troubled waters.

Cooperation

From an organizational perspective, it is noticed that (medical) care and support are increasingly integrated and organized close to citizens, for example by the Regional Health Service (RGD) in outpatient clinics and health centers. The (future) role and position of hospitals is topic of discussion. ‘There is a need for cooperation between hospitals, such as theme services or specializations per institution to stimulate regional cooperation’, says a care manager in the Diakonessenhuis in Paramaribo.

Prevention

To keep (medical) care and support accessible and affordable in urban and rural areas, more emphasis is touched on the individual responsibility and self-reliance of citizens in urban and rural areas. The Medical Mission provides primary and preventive care in rural areas through so-called Healthcare Assistants (GzAs), recruited from the villages themselves. From a medical perspective, scarcity in terms of medical expertise and required medication and equipment is reality. The shortage of medication and equipment stimulates creativity and (nursing) leadership, but also touches on a dangerous limit to provide responsible medical care.

Stability

Political-social developments – such as an unstable financial climate – seem to have contextual influence on the further development of the Surinamese health care sector. Stable financial relationships between the government and healthcare institutions are described as ‘crucial’ to stimulate innovative practices. Towards the political elections in May 2020 the healthcare sector seems to be an important topic for debate. The Surinamese healthcare landscape is looking for stability in troubled waters.

More information

This summary is a short description of the Dutch longread 'The Surinamese care landscape: a practice round in February 2019'and is written by Oemar van der Woerd, PhD Candidate 'Shared governance in healthcare' at the Health Care Governance section of ESHPM.