Surinamese community workers launch e-learning program on mother and child care

On October 3rd, the twinning project ‘Care in the Hand’ of The Perisur Foundation from Suriname and Health[e]Foundation from the Netherlands in collaboration with the neighbourhood organisations Stiwewa from Winti Wai and Stibula from Latour started the training of the first group of 34 community workers.

The training includes eight teaching modules that community workers desperately need in their work in the field of mother and childcare. Topics covered during the training are healthy food; care for newborns and babies; safe sex; drug abuse and addiction; communication and relationships and reaching out to young people. This increase in knowledge is useful  when working with young people, pregnant women, teenage mothers and young mothers in deprived areas.

During the kick-off workshop, held at The Sint Vincentius Hospital, the participants were introduced in the blended learning concept, a combination of workshops and e-learning. The e-learning modules can follow the participants on a tablet supplied by the project, enabling them to track the e-learning offline, in their own time and remotely.

Manodj Hindori and Ashna Hindori-Mohangoo, project implementers at Perisur stressed the importance of e-learning in the health sector: “The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the power of e-learning, allowing health professionals and community workers to continue to learn remotely and keep their knowledge up to date, which has positive effects on the quality of care provided”. Through the Care in the Hand project, Perisur wants to contribute to the reduction of maternal and infant mortality in Suriname.

Robby Berghout of Stiwewa and Wilgo Koster of Stibula both praised Perisur and Health[e]Foundation’s training program because it fits perfectly within their own work in disadvantaged communities. Usha Schalkwijk, who spoke on behalf of the Suriname Netherlands twinningfacility,  also welcomes the project. “Every Surinamese deserves a chance, no matter what neighborhood you don’t come from”  was her firm opinion.

Health[e]Foundation started in 2003 by offering further training through e-learning to health professionals in the most remote areas. Professor Fransje van der Waals, founder of The Health[e]Foundation and project leader Nadine Pakker, said:  “Our e-learning is distinguished by the fact that it functions offline, which also enables community workers from the interior to participate.”

The various modules of further training have been overhauled by Surinamese experts and focus on various social themes that enable community workers to transfer the knowledge gained to their target group in the community.

Given the current situation surrounding COVID-19, the workshop took place in an adapted form, with the Dutch project partner Health[e]Foundation virtually participating from Amsterdam and Perisur leading the workshop in small groups. The 34 participants have four months to complete the e-learning training programme, after which the graduates will receive a certificate from the University of Amsterdam.