Workshop on Health Equity and Social Determinants Perspective in Non-Communicable and Communicable Diseases Strengthens Primary Healthcare Teams in Suriname

30 Nov 2023
30 Nov 2023

Suriname, November 30, 2023 (PAHO/WHO) – In an effort to address the fight against Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and Communicable diseases in Suriname, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Suriname hosted a two-day workshop on November 29 and 30, 2023 for various health stakeholders and policy makers. The workshop focused on integrating a Health Equity and Social Determinants (SDoH) perspective into Primary Healthcare (PHC) programs, with a particular emphasis on NCDs and infectious diseases.

The workshop aligns with PAHO's strategic priorities, emphasizing the integration of NCD prevention and control within primary healthcare, while simultaneously addressing infectious diseases. PAHO commenced a project in late 2022, funded by BMG (Germany Government), to tackle Communicable and Non-Communicable Diseases and their risk factors in Suriname, incorporating an equity and SDoH perspective. This initiative is part of a broader program, "Accelerating Action for NCDs in Primary Health Care: PAHO’s Initiative to Scale Up and Accelerate Integration of Comprehensive NCD Services in Primary Health Care 2023-2030."

The workshop aimed to achieve several key objectives, including advancing the inclusion of SDoH perspectives in PHC programs, enhancing the capacities of PHC teams to understand and address SDoH, and improving skills related to infectious and non-communicable diseases.

The workshop commenced with a welcome from Ministry of Public Health Director and PAHO Suriname representative, followed by an introduction to the meeting's objectives by Hugo Vásquez from the Health Promotion and Social Determinants Unit at PAHO/HQ. The morning sessions included an in-depth look at the importance of SDoH in PHC practice, a general overview on communicable disease and NCDs and its risk factors and health inequities overview in Surinam, and evidence on SDoH influences the disease prevention and control. The afternoon saw breakout sessions, providing an opportunity for PHC teams to delve into SDoH and how they influence on Communicable Diseases in the context of Suriname as well its implication for the disease management. The day concluded with reflections, next steps, and the closing of the conference.

“The impact of Social Determinants of Health its clearly affecting the patterns of main behavioral risk factors such unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, smoking, and excessive alcohol consumption, while at same time places certain groups in situations of vulnerability for exposure, contagion, and the negative consequences of communicable diseases. This capacity building workshop will support us how to include the SDH perspective while providing equitable care at Primary Health care level in Suriname” – PAHO/WHO Representative Suriname Dr. Noreen Jack

The second day began with a synthesis of the first day's discussions and a work plan for the day. Sessions included a deeper dive into SDoH and Non Communicable Diseases, tools for incorporating SDoH perspectives into PHC practice, and a breakout session on adapting the HEARTS H module.

The final sessions of the workshop involved a breakout session on a needs assessment from the PHC perspective to include an SDoH approach to tackle NCDs and infectious diseases. The workshop concluded with reflections on the discussions and next steps.

The content covered a wide range of topics, from an introduction to SDoH and their importance in PHC practice to specific tools like INNOV8 and the adaptation of the HEARTS H module. Sessions also explored evidence on SDoH and infectious diseases, emphasizing their relationship and mechanisms that explain this connection.

The workshop provided a platform for PHC teams to collaborate, share experiences, and contribute to shaping the future of healthcare in Suriname with a focus on health equity and social determinants.

PAHO Suriname reaffirms its strong commitment to improving healthcare in the country. The focus on integrating the Social Determinants of Health (SDoH) perspective into Primary Healthcare (PHC) programs, especially for Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and Communicable diseases, demonstrates a proactive step towards achieving health equity and overall well-being.

The workshop successfully achieved its goal of advancing the inclusion of SDoH in PHC programs. Through informative sessions and collaborative discussions, PHC teams gained valuable insights and tools to better address health disparities within their programs.

PAHO's dedication to Suriname goes beyond the workshop, with ongoing initiatives addressing the specific healthcare needs of the nation. By aligning strategic priorities with local challenges, PAHO ensures a holistic approach that not only tackles NCDs but also considers infectious diseases from a social determinants and health equity perspective.