Postgraduate training opportunities for community workers in Suriname

Community workers have an important role in giving health information and support to their communities. In Suriname, community workers are employed by social & community-based organizations active in fields varying from supporting marginalised groups in disadvantaged neighbourhoods to providing first-line care in rural areas. Despite the different scopes of these organizations, there is one overarching need: the need for postgraduate training for community workers.

Hence, within our “Zorg in de Hand” program sponsored by UTSN and the Dutch foundation ICF, a second group of community workers started their Health[e]Community training on 27 February 2021. The first group of community workers, that started their training in October 2020, taught us that 45% of these community workers did not receive any postgraduate training in the past three years, explaining the surplus in demand for the first and second course.

The Health[e]Community training consists of a wide variety of modules, covering the most pressing topics in Suriname, such as drug and alcohol misuse; safe sexual practises and teenage pregnancies; healthy nutrition; and how to take care of a newborn. These theoretical modules are complemented with modules that improve the communication and advocacy skills of the community workers and with concrete activities which the community worker can practise within their community.

In this second COVID-19 proof kick-off workshop, 36 community workers started the training and were introduced in how to use the pre-installed tablet for e-learning. In the coming months, the participants will complete the e-modules and will perform outreach activities within their communities. In June, everyone will rejoin to share experiences and exchange thoughts during the closing workshop.

Health[e]Foundation and our partner Stichting Perisur are excited to see the motivation of the participants, some of them have already completed all modules within three weeks!