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SOCIAL ASPECTS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN SURINAME

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POVERTY

No information available.

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DEMOGRAPHICS

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies, and Plans 

The policies of the Ministry of Health and Environment have had the most impact on actual demographic trends. 
The Government of Suriname considers the population growth and the fertility level of the country satisfactory and wants to maintain the status quo.

Programmes and Projects

The Ministry of Social Affairs only provides Child Support for up to four children and even though the amount of the support is insignificant, it could be interpreted as a indication by the Government in favour of smaller families. Largely due to the work of the Lobi Foundation and the general medical practitioners, birth control devices are readily available to the general public, which has resulted in the reduction of the family sizes.

Status

In Suriname, there is no national policy on demographic dynamics and sustainability. The last population census was conducted in 1980.
The main distinction in population issues has been the contrast between the coastal areas (city and rural) and the hinterland (interior). The interior is inhabited mainly by tribal peoples: Amerindians and Maroons. Demographic statistics of the coastal areas have always been much more reliable than those of the interior. Fertility levels and population growth in the interior seem higher than in the coastal areas.
Suriname's population has hardly grown since independence in 1975, which is mainly due to emigration. 

Cooperation

In 1993, Suriname participated in the International Conference on Population and Development. A National Preparatory Commission was established for the Conference consisting of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Health and Environment, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Planning and Development (including the National Planning Office and the General Statistics Office) and the Lobi Foundation (a NGO which works in the area of Family Planning).

This information was provided by the Government of Suriname to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: June 1997.

To access the United Nations Population Information Network, click here.

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HEALTH

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies

The Ministry of Public Health is responsible for the central coordination of a national health care system in Suriname.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies, and Plans 

Health policy in Suriname is implemented on the premise that health services should be available, accessible and acceptable to the population, with emphasis on the development of Primary Health Care (PHC). 

Policy measures, now under consideration, are aimed at giving more autonomy to institutions and, at the same time, strengthen the coordinating role of the Ministry of Public Health. In addition, the central government must be strengthened by training personnel, creating better communication links between Government and non-governmental institutions, and strengthening the role of professional organizations.

Programmes and Projects

In 1977, the Ministry of Public Health assigned the responsibility for all medical care in the Surinamese interior to the Medical Mission (Medische Zending/MZ). This constitutes the entire rainforest land areas and comprises about 80% of the Surinamese land area and approximately 50,000 people, Maroons and Amer-Indians, or 8% of the total population. The MZ is a private multi-denominational and non-profit organization which acts as an umbrella for three Christian Missionary Foundations in the interior. With a booming gold-rush in some parts of the interior, many "urbanites" and illegal foreigners have entered this territory.

In 1980, the Regional Health Service (Regionale Gezondheidsdienst/RGD) was established to offer comprehensive health care services for the population along the coastal area. It serves approximately 105,000 economically under-privileged persons registered with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Housing while the State Health Insurance Foundation (SZF) covers another 140,000 people in the coastal areas.

Status

Suriname has faced a recent period of economic decline and overall hardship, but as things seem to improve, those responsible for the provision of the PHC are pursuing a common course, joining efforts and sharing collective responsibilities. The issues of "Quality of Life" and "Survival Strategies" are also becoming more pertinent. As in all developing countries, emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases do pose a threat to the country's public health as to its development and progress. The primary health care provision is currently being re-evaluated with community participation for planning and strengthening of health care services, which requires identification of deficiencies and selection of priority activities.

Challenges

Until the late 1980s, PHC coverage of the population was nearly complete; health indicators were at the high end for a developing countries; and basic health services were guaranteed for the largest part of the Surinamese population. An important development has been the integration of vertical disease control activities and programs into primary health care. However, a worsening socio-economic situation in Suriname effected the health sector. Serious shortages in essential drugs, laboratory supplies, equipment and parts for maintenance, and other infrastructure related items, including adequate transportation, now occur at an alarming rate.
Many health institutions are hard hit by the personnel leaving the sector and country for better pay. Though officially reported health indicators do not indicate a decline, the health system is experiencing serious constraints. To cope with the deteriorating state of the PHC infrastructure in Suriname, the Government realizes that urgent measures will have to be taken. Its action plan for health includes: cost containment and recovery; privatization of public hospitals; strengthening of PHC by promotion of community involvement in PHC; reinforcement of first-line care (to counter-balance specialized care); adaption of a multi-sectoral approach (improvement of nutrition, sanitation, environmental health, education, housing, employment, etc.); integration of PHC components, such as the Extended Program of Immunization, Maternal and Child Health, Control of Diarrheal Diseases, Family Planning and STD/HIV; emphasizing the special role that women play in health and disease prevention; and decentralization of health management, with more responsibility given to local GOS and NGOs.

Cooperation

The World Health Organization, as well as numerous other international organizations, has clearly articulated that full cooperation and sharing of responsibilities between GOs and NGOs are a matter of the utmost importance. Suriname is a member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and has cooperated accordingly in the health sector and regional programmes. The same goes for the Pan America Health Organization (PAHO), which has a permanent office in Suriname.

This information was provided by the Government of Suriname to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: June 1997.

Click here to go to the Health and health-related statistical information from the World Health Organization.

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EDUCATION

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies

The Ministry of Planning and Development Cooperation and the University of Suriname together with the Ministry of Education and Human development are the key bodies responsible for decision-making.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies, and Plans

A comprehensive educational framework is being prepared. 

The Surinamese Sustainable Human Development Model (SSHDM) places the Surinamese people in the centre. Investing in our own population and participatory democracy as well as in dynamic and active private and public sectors are important aspects of this approach. However, these goals can only be achieved when educational capabilities of the population as a whole are continuously being raised to an even higher level, especially development-oriented educational capabilities which consider technology the key to development. Educational and environmental development is expensive. Therefore, the optimization of economic, social, human and environmental development is important.
The still untouched vast natural resource base of Suriname constitutes a very high potential for financing the components of the SSHDM. However, the use of natural resources has to be done in accordance with the sustainable resource management and resource use system, which call for proper policies and research.

Cooperation

With regard to capacity-building and technological development in this field, Suriname has established contacts with different universities in Europe, USA and the Caribbean Region. Within the more comprehensive educational framework currently in preparation, a more effective and efficient capacity-building and technology transfer can be effectuated. Suriname is also a member of the Caribbean Council foe Science and Technology. Financing for these issues comes mainly from donors.

This information was provided by the Government of Suriname to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: June 1997.

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HUMAN SETTLEMENTS

No information available.

Click here to access "Best Practices for Human Settlements: South America"
For information related to human settlements and refugees, you may access the UNHCR Country Index by clicking here:


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