“You realize you are the key for change”

You realize you are the key for change.

This truthful and inspirational quote can be applicable to almost anything in life, but in this case
refers to a testimony of a community health worker (CHW) in Suriname who participated in the
Health[e]Community blended e-learning training, developed and facilitated by Health[e]Foundation
and Stichting Perisur.

During an interview this participant revealed that the training has made her realise to value the importance and appreciation of her work, and activated her to transfer even more of her knowledge to her community.

Over the last five months, I did my Masters research on the effectiveness of the Health[e]Community training, developed with the aim to increase health knowledge and skills of CHWs in Suriname. Health[e]Community has a specific focus on maternal and child health and training is crucial as Suriname faces challenges with regard to maternal and child health on the one hand and a shortage of professional health workers on the other hand. For this research I used a mixed method design including pre- and post-test scores of the training modules, surveys among the intervention group (e-learning participants) and a control group (CHWs without the training), and interviews with training participants.

My main conclusion is that the Health[e]Community training is effective in several ways. The training has led to a significant knowledge gain for all training modules and also increased CHW’s capability to advice women about the prenatal stage, about breastfeeding and nutrition for newborns. Furthermore, it increased confidence of CHWs and intensified both the frequency as well as the content of knowledge transfer to community members.

Although, due to COVID-19 restrictions, I was not able to travel to Suriname for my field work, I feel closely connected to the project as well as to Suriname because of the warm and frequent contact with Stichting Perisur and Health[e]Foundation, the multiple chats and video meetings I had with training participants in Suriname and the inspiration for making Surinamese Roti in my Dutch kitchen. I am grateful to have had this opportunity and as my interviewee said “you are the key for change”, I hope I have shared my part.