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Suriname launched its mental health policy and plan

“With this document, the Ministry of Health is sending a clear call for action to all stakeholders in all structures in our communities” said Surinam’s Minister of Health, Michel Blokland, at the launch of the country’s mental health policy 2012-2016 and a two years plan, 2012-2014. 

“I gladly admit that there is now a growing recognition among our communities of the prevalence and impact of mental illness and mental health problems. With this document the Government of Suriname is making a renewed commitment to mental health by prioritizing it in its national health policy and plans,” added the Minister.

In 2005, by using the WHO-AIMS, Suriname’s Ministry of Health started to closely look at mental health and to gradually upgrade its mental health services. The showcase of the strengths but also the weaknesses of the system resulted in an awareness of the importance and need of restructuring mental health care. From that moment on, members of the mental health focal group worked on the recommendations derived from the WHO-AIMS and developed, with other stakeholders, a mental health policy document for 2012-2016, with a two years plan (2012-2014). 

The different consultation initiatives, involving different stakeholders, offered the opportunity to share information and produce deep discussion regarding the needs the current mental health system presents. The result was an agreement on the three priority strategic areas of action that should be implemented in order to advance a needed reform process: decentralization of psychiatric care, integration of mental health in primary care, and strengthening the mental health information system.


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