On March 14th 2011, The Ministry of Health, in collaboration with PAHO Suriname, conducted a first session with selected stakeholders in Suriname to prepare for the UN NCD High-level Meeting in September 2011.
The agenda included an introduction on the UN NCD High-level Meeting; a roundtable; and discussion on focus areas of physical activity, sport and health, nutrition, responsible food production, implementation of Codex Alimentarius, and food labeling. Dr. L. Resida, Director of the Bureau of Public Health, chaired the meeting.
Dr. Waterburg, Minster of Health, discussed the role of countries and stakeholder’s responsibilities. He also discussed that Suriname attended the Mexico Meeting. The outcome of this meeting was a declaration that represents the position of the Americas regarding prevention and control of NCDs. an international prelude to the High-level Meeting. Dr. Eijkemans, director of PAHO-Suriname, discussed the goals and intended outcomes of the High-level Meeting as well as the preliminary meetings that are taking place around the world in preparation.
Dr. Samuels, CARICOM, presented an overview of the role and position of CARICOM in the High-level Meeting. The Port of Spain NCD Summit Declaration in September 2007 provided guidelines for responding to risk factors.
Dr Eersel, Director of Health, discussed the rising trends of NCDs in Suriname. Suriname has seen success in recent years in combating communicable diseases such as yellow fever and malaria. She also outlined threats to health status and prevention strategies.
Dr. Watson, Director of the Ministry of Sports, reported that current research estimates that only 20% of the population is active and the Ministry’s goal is to increase this number to 40% within 4-5 years. Dr. Watson acknowledges that the biggest challenge for Suriname is coordinating a multi-sectoral approach to the prevention of NCDs.
Other speakers included representatives from the Fernandes Group, Suriname Dieticians Association, Bureau of Public Health, and Suriname Bureau of Standards.
By the time of the High-level Meeting, Suriname expects to have in place a tobacco law, an integrated care model for Cardiovascular Risk Management in the primary health care, and a draft national NCD plan. The importance of considering mental health care in the battle over NCDs was also acknowledged. A discussion was also held regarding health insurers and the inclusion of preventative services in their policies.
The next steps to be taken include informing and preparing the Minister of Health to present to the Council of Ministers reasons why combating NCDs is important and the ideas behind the High-Level Meeting; and in addition to secure the involvement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Offices of the President and Vice-President to ensure their participation before, during and after the Summit. Additional meetings will be held in Suriname in coming months to continue to prepare for September’s High-level meeting and continue the fight against NCDs in Suriname.