Suriname has high numbers of adverse pregnancy and birth outcomes in comparison with other countries in the Latin American region. This is largely due to inadequate care; a lack of continued medical education for health professionals; and a shortage of up-to-date information. Therefore, Stichting Perisur and Health[e]Foundation have joined forces to improve mother and child healthcare in Suriname.
The program aims to stimulate knowledge exchange and capacity building for healthcare professionals and to provide information for mothers and children. For two years, in-service training was offered through a blended learning program for 122 healthcare professionals and 75 community health workers in Suriname. Pregnant women are reached via an innovative mobile app, which was specially developed for Suriname.
Training for healthcare professionals
A total of 122 healthcare professionals, including obstetricians, gynecologists, general practitioners, and obstetrics/gynecology nurses), have been trained with the Female&Family[e]Education blended learning course. The training, which has been successfully deployed in several African countries, has been adapted by local experts for the Surinamese context. It focuses on prenatal care; childbirth; and the major causes of complications, illness, and death in mothers and children, such as postpartum hemorrhage and preeclampsia.
An additional 75 community health workers have completed the Health[e]Community training. The training program focuses on healthcare for mothers and babies; healthy lifestyles; and substance misuse and addiction. In addition, the community health worker acquire communication and training skills, enabling them to transfer their acquired knowledge to the community.
LUCY app for women in the reproductive age
The LUCY app was launched in March 2020. The app allows pregnant women and mothers to receive targeted health information via their smartphone, thereby involving them in their own healthcare. This app is unique because it was especially developed for Suriname and provides information tailored to the woman’s gestational stage or the baby’s age. The app contributes to the health of (pregnant) women and newborns in close collaboration with their healthcare professionals. The roll-out of the app is mainly facilitated by our e-learners: the trained midwives and community health workers. Within 1.5 years, we have reached 4,592 pregnant women and mothers of newborns in Suriname with LUCY and are supporting 21% of the target group in Suriname.
24% knowledge gain for healthcare professionals
16.6% knowledge gain for community health workers
Intensified knowledge transfer to the community on breastfeeding, safe sex, and substance use
Improved confidence of healthcare professionals and community health workers to provide advice and support
4,592 pregnant women/mothers of newborns enrolled in the LUCY app
Stichting Perisur (Perinatal Interventions Suriname) focuses on improving the care of (pregnant) women and their babies in Suriname by developing and implementing effective perinatal interventions such as preconception care and ‘SamenZwanger’. The UTSN Twinning Facility Suriname – Netherlands aims to finance joint activities between Dutch and Surinamese civil society organizations. Through knowledge exchange, capacity building, and institutional strengthening, this collaboration contributes, in a sustainable way, to strengthening civil society in Suriname.
“The ‘Care in Hand’ project is unique, since it increases both the knowledge of Surinamese health workers and the involvement of pregnant women in their own healthcare. This combined approach leads to increased knowledge, better care and positive birth outcomes.”
– Ashna Hindori-Mohangoo, Principal investigator Stichting Perisur