Suriname Improves Malaria Surveillance with Specialized Capacity Building for Community Health Workers

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Between November 13 and 24, 2023, Suriname took a significant step in the fight against malaria through a special initiative program aimed at improving malaria surveillance. The ten-day program, a joint effort of the PAHO Country Office in Suriname and the National Malaria Program of the Ministry of Health, was held in Paramaribo.

“Training of Malaria Service Providers” is part of Suriname’s robust strategy to strengthen malaria surveillance and case management. This initiative specifically focuses on the capacity for rapid malaria diagnosis and treatment of uncomplicated malaria in remote gold mining areas and other high-mobility communities in Suriname.

The initiative to strengthen the capacity is provided by the Malaria Service Deliverers (MSD) network, which is a critical part of the national malaria surveillance system. The network consists of community health workers — mainly lay people — trained in the diagnosis and treatment of uncomplicated malaria. These workers provide essential malaria services under the supervision of TropClinic, especially in remote and hard-to-reach areas within the forested interior of Suriname and in mobile migrant communities.

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As Suriname makes progress toward eliminating malaria, this initiative highlights the importance of recognizing the symptoms and signs of the disease. This ensures that no cases are missed, and the appropriate treatment is administered immediately after diagnosis. The training also includes case investigation techniques, which are essential in the elimination phase to investigate individual cases or clusters and understand the risk factors to eliminate foci of transmission.

In addition, the capacity-building initiative includes a refresher course on the identification of selected infectious diseases such as Cutaneous Leishmaniasis and Leprosy. It also covers the measurement of vital signs, glucose, and blood pressure. An important aspect of the training is Behavioral Change Communication (BCC) and community engagement, which equips workers with the skills to effectively interact and engage with the communities they serve.

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This capacity-building initiative is a testament to Suriname’s commitment to improving the quality, timeliness, and use of surveillance information, thereby making important strides in malaria elimination and overall development. of public health in remote regions.