Update on PAHO Operations
The management of logistics and the transport of goods to the interior of Suriname is difficult, but the Suriname military has taken over much of the logistics and distribution, aided by Brazilian and Dutch helicopters. Food parcels are being distributed by the IFRC/Netherlands Red Cross.
Epidemiological surveillance reports are being received by radio from a few sites and they are reporting primarily cases of diarrhea and upper respiratory infections in children under five years of age. The numbers are not different from last year’s figures.
Suriname’s National Coordination Centre for Disasters (NCCR) is carrying out its responsibilities in a very transparent and beneficial manner. Evening coordination meetings are attended by approximately 70 people, but attendance is decreasing.
PAHO plans and activities
1. Disease control and malaria
The Ministry of Health and the Medical Mission are working to reach a consensus on health needs. In the meantime:
- Coartem (treatment for P. falciparum) and K-OTABS (will be purchased to impregnate bed nets as protection against vectors).
- A plan has been made with the Ministry of Health to strengthen the capacity of the epidemiology department by providing software, PCs, training and field visits.
- 15,000 long-lasting impregnated nets for hammocks—provided by the Global Fund—are being distributed. PAHO will order other specially designed ones to meet the needs of the Maroon population in Suriname.
2. Water and sanitation
- PAHO/WHO is procuring plastic water tanks to collect rainwater. These will be placed close to schools and clinics for communal use.
- Aquatabs (water purification) have arrived and will be provided primarily to Amerindian villages, since they do not have individual water tanks. They can use the chlorine tablets to purify creek water.
- The collection of empty plastic bottles and boxes from donated food parcels are being collected and disposed of by the local military.
- Regarding disposal of excreta, at this moment, no attempt is being made to change anything, because this is an enormous logistical problem and an issue of education.
3. Coordination and logistics
PAHO/WHO continues to support Suriname’s NCCR and its Emergency Operations Center (EOC). Access to high-speed Internet and other information and communications technology continues to pose a problem and delay some processes.