PAHO donates equipment to support the implementation of telehealth in Suriname

Group picture during handover

Medical Mission Director Maureen Wijngaarde-van Dijk, PAHO/WHO Representative Dr. Karen Lewis-Bell, Deputy Chief of Mission, Priyadarshi Sen, and PAHO/WHO Advisor Health Systems & Services Dr. Rosmond Adams during the handover.

Suriname, November 03, 2022 (PAHO) – With funding from the United States Government (USG), PAHO has supplied the Medical Mission in Suriname with 20 desktop computers, 10 notebooks with high-definition and quality multimedia capacity, 5 tablets, and two 50-inch smart TVs.  

The supplies were donated to furnish the Data Situation Rooms and to kick start the implementation of the telehealth project that is currently being implemented by the Ministry of Health in Suriname with support from PAHO. The Medical Mission which offers primary care services to the interior communities and rural parts of Suriname will pilot the project. 

The handover was formally done by PAHO/WHO Representative Dr. Karen Lewis-Bell, and PAHO/WHO Advisor Health Systems & Services Dr. Rosmond Adams, in the presence of Deputy Chief of Mission Mr. Priyadarshi Sen of the Embassy of the United States of America in Suriname to Dr. Maureen Wijngaarde – van Dijk, Medical Director of Medical Mission Suriname.

The Deputy Chief of Mission Mr. Sen noted that “this telehealth project represents an important step forward in bringing quality healthcare to underserved areas of Suriname.  The Embassy of the United States is proud to partner with PAHO, Medical Mission, and the Ministry of Health in this effort.  Telehealth technology will not only save patients time and money but, in many cases, provide the only possible access to quality healthcare in a timely manner.”

During the pilot phase, healthcare providers in remote rural communities will be able to communicate with and receive technical support from medical specialists located in the city of Paramaribo. This telehealth initiative will improve access to health care, reduce the need for patients to travel or be transported long distances to seek additional care, and reduce expenditure on health care.

“On behalf of Medical Mission, we thank the PAHO and the US Government for this welcomed assistance in our efforts to provide good and timely health care to the populations of the hinterlands. In this telehealth project, the equipment will be used in the clinics of Brownsweg, Powakka, and Redi Doti. The Diakonessen Hospital, in Paramaribo, will serve as the referral hospital for this region, and we will provide the specialists in this Hospital with adequate equipment to provide better services and consultation to the patients in the interior”, mentioned Dr. Wijngaarde-van Dijk from Medical Mission.

“PAHO is please to provide this technical cooperation to the Ministry of Health and the Medical Mission with the kind support of the Government of the United States. This project embodies the vision and mission of PAHO to ensure that all peoples of the region enjoy optimal health and to promote equity in health to improve the quality of and lengthen the lives of the peoples of the Americas. Our goal is to leave no-one behind and continue providing technical cooperation to achieve Universal Health in Suriname.” said Dr. Karen Lewis-Bell.

After the pilot phase, the project is expected to be further expanded to all primary care facilities in Suriname including the Regional Health Service clinics to include other modalities of telehealth. This initiative is part of the Ministry’s mission in strengthening Information Systems for Health (IS4H) and to support the digital transformation of the health sector in Suriname.

The Department of Evidence and Intelligence for Action in Health (EIH) at PAHO is coordinating the regional project and is also working with other countries in the region to support the digital transformation of the health sector.