Theres a shortage of beds, medicine, nurses, vaccines in Surinam. Actually, to everything. There are about 300 coronavirus infections per day. This is three times more per 100,000 inhabitants than in the Netherlands. Doctors should choose which patients to take and which ones do not.
“ An anesthesiologist told me: its a war zone,” says retired surgeon Chander Mahabier. He is one of the members of the team with medical staff that left today from Schiphol to Suriname. They are going to support health care in the hope of regaining control of the corona situation.
Mahabier is going to operate in a hospital in the Nickerie district: “It also includes IC-nurses, intensivists, microbiologists, technicians. Were going to give support that people dont have now.”
For example, the nurses there are now working double shifts from 08.00 to 21.00 hours. Dentists are assisting on the ICs. Volunteers of the Red Cross offer their help. But its not enough. “We need twenty or thirty more doctors,” says a doctor at the Academic Hospital in Paramaribo. “And so many nurses, too.”
The team that left for Suriname today, about twenty strong, is only a first team. In addition to helping in healthcare, they will also look at what is needed more.
“ My heart speaks, I have to go there,” says one of the nurses who go to Suriname:
The team is led by physician-microbiologist and epidemiologist Marc Sprenger, who acts as special envoy of the Ministry of VWS.
TV broadcast on vaccination
The situation is insignificant in many parts of the country, says Mahabier. “Two months ago I was there for the last time, and then there were hardly any infections. Now young people aged 30 and 40 are dying of covid. In Apoera, a village of 3000 inhabitants, 20, 25 infected people have been admitted.”
The only structural solution to the situation in Suriname is rapid and large-scale vaccination. The Netherlands has pledged to supply 700,000 Astrazeneca vaccines to Suriname. Next week, a first delivery of 40,000 doses will follow.
So far no 100,000 shots have been put in Suriname, only 4 percent of the population has been fully vaccinated.
The stock of vaccines in Suriname is small, so according to doctors, the vaccines promised are very welcome:
According to experts on the spot, in addition to lack of doses, there is also a lack of public confidence in the vaccines. The willingness to vaccinate is low, although the current harrowing situation may change that.
Mahabier will explain about vaccinations for an hour on the Surinamese TV next Monday: “That is one of the tasks you have as a familiar face. The people who are now admitted to the ICU are not vaccinated. In other words, vaccination really helps.”