Reflecting on the success of the ‘Care in Hand’ program in Suriname

In 2019, we started our collaboration with Stichting Perisur and together implemented the ‘Care in Hand’ program in Suriname. This program aimed to strengthen the capacity for health professionals and community workers, and provide information for pregnant women and mothers of newborns. The three pillars of this program are blended-learning training for health professionals, blended-learning for community workers, and the LUCY maternal health app.

Now, two years later, we can proudly say that we have successfully trained 122 health professionals and 75 community workers via blended e-learning, who in turn have informed, supported, and capacitated their clients, community members, and the community at large. Moreover, we have reached over 4.500 women with maternal health information via the LUCY app (>53% than the initial target); within 1.5 year, LUCY has already supported 21% of all pregnancies and first-year newborns in Suriname, and is continuously growing.

Linked to Health[e]Foundations’ affiliation with the University of Amsterdam, three Master-level academic studies have been conducted using quantitative as well as qualitative data collected during the implementation of the program. The results of these studies show a 24% knowledge gain for health professionals and 16.6% knowledge gain for community workers, in combination with intensified knowledge transfer on breastfeeding, safe sex and substance use, strengthened support of pregnant women, more effective outreach activities, improved recognition and treatment of pregnancy complications and improved confidence to advice and support. Some reflections of participating community workers on the training are:

‘The training is actually a guideline, you will always need it, it has a positive effect on the way you perform your job, and on your personal life.’ ‘Due to the training, I am better capable of supporting people with their health, of course it depends on the situation, but no matter what the situation is, I am always open for it, to help.’ ‘I can use the training when I facilitate short trainings or sessions, I can use it. At the end it was also explained how to transfer the training, which tools you can use in which ways and among which groups.’

The LUCY app has also been greatly appreciated by her users. The individualized information via smartphone led to positive behavioral changes, preparedness and awareness regarding one’s pregnancy and improved communication between health professionals and (pregnant) women. The LUCY app success is reflected in the recent launch of LUCY 2.0 with more features and the introduction of a tailormade LUCY app in Ethiopia.

As the blended e-learning approach is a relatively new learning concept in the Suriname, the successful impact of this program in challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic proves that blended e-learning in Suriname is ‘the way to go’.

We like to thank the UTSN Twinning faciliteit and the International Charitable Foundation (ICF) for their financial contribution and are currently pursuing opportunities to continue the fruitful collaboration with Stichting Perisur and making sustainable impact for Surinamese communities.

Kick-off workshop for health professionals in Paramibo

Read more about this program:

Second group of health professionals start e-learning course in Paramaribo
Surinamese community workers launch e-learning program on mother and child care
Postgraduate training opportunities for community workers in Suriname
Launch of the LUCY maternity app with the Surinamese minister of health

Read more about the Master-level academic studies:

LUCY app and Female&Family[e]Education for health professionals
Health[e]Community training for community workers