Surinamese minister: ‘Every Surinamer knows someone with covid’

The pandemic grasps in Suriname very quickly. The number of infections is rapidly increasing and there is a lack of all kinds of medical supplies due to financial shortages. Newshour spoke with the Surinamese Minister of Health Amar Ramadhin, who sees the situation worsen every day.

โ€œ It‘s quite a challenge,โ€ says Ramadhin. โ€œIt’s new to everyone. Every Surinamer knows someone who is infected with covid, because we only have a society of 600,000 people.โ€

And with a reproduction number of 1.5, the cares for him for now are not over. โ€œI, of course, am under heavy pressure as a minister. I don‘t rest much.โ€

Financial arrears

Not only distribution is currently a major problem, but also the lack of the right medical means means that Suriname is under pressure.

โ€œ We have found a situation in which care has been very neglected, particularly in the financial field,โ€ says Minister Ramadhin. According to him, when he became Minister, there were arrears of payment at various suppliers. โ€œMany suppliers had stopped supplying essential items. That has created the necessary challenges. Of course, the covid situation makes it very difficult.โ€

What does Suriname need most at the moment? โ€œFirst, a qualified medical framework ranging from general and intensive care nurses, hall doctors and intensivists needed in the control of seriously ill people. We also need medical equipment, such as respirators and tubes.โ€

Vaccines

But what can really help Suriname out of the pandemic are vaccines. And they don’t have one yet. โ€œThis is crucial for the sustainable protection of our citizens.โ€

Ramadhin looks forward with confidence to the delivery of vaccines from the Netherlands, which are expected at the earliest end of June. โ€œThat does give us room to set up, or at least expand and prepare our large-scale vaccination campaign.โ€

According to Ramadhin, Suriname Nederland is grateful for the support. โ€œIn any case, we are assured of a stock of vaccines to protect large parts of society.โ€

Hospitals are full and there is a threat of acute shortage of oxygen. So is the situation now in Suriname: