Vaccination Week in the Americas: Medical Mission and PAHO/WHO's Joint Initiative Provides Access to Vaccines in Hard-to-Reach Areas in Suriname

Child receives vaccine

Suriname, May 23, 2023 (PAHO/WHO) – Throughout the years, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) has worked with governments, healthcare organizations, and other partners to ensure that children and adults across the Americas have access to life-saving vaccines. Every year in the last week of April, Vaccination Week in the Americas is celebrated to emphasize the importance of vaccination and to increase access to vaccines.

As part of the 21st Vaccination Week in the Americas, an initiative that aims to mobilize concerted action across the region to boost routine and targeted immunization efforts, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) team in Suriname supported several activities with various counterparts within the country.

One of the organizations participating in Vaccination Week in the Americas is Medical Mission in Suriname. Medical Mission is an organization that focuses on providing primary healthcare to people in Suriname that live in the interior, mainly inhabitants of Maroon and Indigenous communities. During Vaccination Week in the Americas, Medical Mission provided various extra opportunities to get vaccinated in hard to reach areas, such as remote villages in the Brokopondo area.

This year, Medical Mission organized a vaccination outreach campaign, with support from PAHO/WHO, during the VWA 2023, to visit several sites, schools and villages to actively provide people with the opportunity to get vaccinated and to ensure that people and children who do not get their regulatory vaccines receive a chance to get vaccinated.
This campaign was kicked-off with a vaccination event at the village of Brownsweg where Medical Mission is active on April 28, 2023. The event at the Medical Mission Clinic in Brownsweg was attended by the PAHO/WHO representative and a delegation, as well as a number of key stakeholders, including representatives from the government and traditional authorities. Several speakers took the stage to emphasize the importance of vaccination and the role that Vaccination Week in the Americas plays in improving access to vaccines. After the opening speeches, the delegation visited the nearby village of Wakibasu 1, where a couple of children received their vaccinations.

“We are pleased to support this campaign together with Medical Mission, as this provides the perfect opportunity to reach children in remote areas that are not up-to-date with their vaccinations and ensure that these children receive a chance to get vaccinated.” - PAHO/WHO Representative in Suriname Dr. Lilian Reneau-Vernon.

The Medical Mission management Herman Jintie emphasized that “Medical Mission is not working alone, to provide proper health care as we work with all and various organizations, such as PAHO, to ensure that Medical Mission is able to provide health care to the public in remote areas. Therefore, it is important to get your children fully vaccinated against preventable diseases.
We want to thank PAHO for all of their efforts, not only in the vaccination week and especially in these tough economic situations in the country, but in all our efforts to provide health care to rural communities in Suriname.”

The initiative by PAHO/WHO and Medical Mission is an important step towards ensuring that everyone in Suriname has access to vaccines, especially those in harder-to-reach areas. By working together, it is making a significant impact on the health of people in Suriname, and it is contributing to the goal of improving access to vaccines across the Americas.