Medical Mission Director Dr. Maureen van Dijk,PAHO/WHO Representative Dr. Karen Lewis-Bell, Medical Mission Dr. Thompson Danso, Medical Mission Health Care Assistant Karel Wajacabo, and Mr. Philip Schwehm, Senior Development Advisor and Regional Economist for USAID in Eastern & Southern Caribbean during the handover.
Suriname, November 17, 2022 (PAHO) – In collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), PAHO/WHO donated three solar direct drive vaccine refrigerators and ice pack freezers to the Medical Mission (MM) in support of strengthening the access and provision of COVID-19 and other vaccines to the communities in the interior of Suriname.
The Medical Mission Suriname is a faith-based NGO and has been given the mandate by the government and the Ministry of Health to provide primary health care service to the indigenous and tribal peoples living in the interior Amazon area of Suriname. They operate 52 health facilities with services provided mainly by nurses and health care assistants.
The official handover of the donation took place at the Medical Mission health clinic at Redi Doti and was formally done by PAHO/WHO Representative Dr. Karen Lewis-Bell to Medical Mission Medical Director Dr. Maureen van Dijk, Dr. Thompson Danso, and Karel Wajacabo in the presence of Mr. Philip Schwehm, Senior Development Advisor and Regional Economist for USAID in Eastern & Southern Caribbean.
The local representative and healthcare assistant of the Medical Mission Redi Doti clinic, Karel Wajacabo, expressed his gratitude by stating
I want to thank the PAHO and USAID for this donation as I am very pleased with the donation of the vaccine refrigerator for our clinic at Redi Doti. This eases our vaccination planning for the children in our community. Also, we can easily order more COVID-19 vaccines from the city and keep them safe in the temperature-controlled storage which we will monitor twice a day.
The collaboration between PAHO and USAID identified several priority areas of work such as supporting the cold chain and supply chain logistics of vaccines, addressing vaccine hesitancy through risk communication and community engagement, and support of outreach vaccination teams during the COVID-19 vaccination program.
For this handover in particular, to support the cold chain, the USAID has graciously supported the procurement of three Medical Solar Direct Drive Vaccine Refrigerators and ice pack freezers, which will be used at Medical Missions clinics in Redi Doti, Semoisi, and Gonini for the storage and safe-keeping of vaccines.
Mr. Philip Schwehm of USAID mentioned that "the USAID and the US Government are very pleased to be able to provide the solar vaccine storage units to support increased vaccinations in the hinterlands of Suriname."
The PWR Suriname stated that "it really is our pleasure that PAHO can work in collaboration with our partners, like the USAID, to ensure that we strengthen access to healthcare, strengthen universal health coverage, and importantly strengthen the knowledge, awareness, and access to vaccination service for COVID-19. We hope to continue to strengthen and build awareness on the importance of COVID-19 vaccinations as the disease is still with us."