Suriname is located on the northeast coast of South-America, and covers 163,820 km2.
In the north, it borders the Atlantic Ocean, in the east, south and west it borders French Guyana, Brazil and Guyana respectively. The topography encompasses a narrow coastal plain that extends from east to west, consisting mainly of a savanna belt, and a highland tropical rainforest.
The land is divided into urban, rural and interior areas. The urban area, comprising the capital city of Paramaribo, the city of Nieuw Nickerie in the west and parts of the district of Wanica, covers 0.4% of the land surface, inhabited by 59.4% of the total population. The rural area is inhabited by 29.6% of the total population. Both areas are located in the coast, covering 10% of the land surface, with a population density of 526.5 per km2.
The remote interior in the south, comprising rainforest, covers approximately 90% of the country, and is sparsely populated by 11% of the total population, comprising Maroon and indigenous tribal communities, with a population density of only 0.2 per km2. Typically, these tribal communities consist of settlements of 100 to 4,000 persons, who usually have little or no basic sanitation, piped water or electricity.
According to the latest census report, the total population of Suriname is 492,829 (50.3% men and 49.7% women). The ethnic composition of the population is 27.4% Hindustani, 17.7% Creole, 14.7% Maroon, 14.6% Javanese, 12.5% Mixed, 3.7% Indigenous and 1.8% Chinese, 0.6% Caucasian (and 7.2% other/not reported). The main religions are Christianity (40.7%), Hinduism (19.9%) and Islam (13.5%).The official language is Dutch. For most Surinamese the mother tongue is Sranan Tongo, an English-based Creole language. Many Surinamese of Asian origin speak Sarnami-Hindi or Suriname-Javanese. Chinese, Maroon and Amerindian languages are also spoken.
The Republic of Suriname, a former Dutch Colony, became independent in 1975. Mining, agricultural and manufacturing are the most important sectors in the Suriname economy, with good prospects for the construction and tourism sectors. Bauxite, mining and oil extraction continue to account for more than 90% of total foreign exchange earnings while agriculture, forestry and fisheries accounted for 7.5% of the GDP in 2002.
The Government is the largest employer, accounting for some 60% of formal employment. The Republic of Suriname is determined to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) at a national level. The MDG country report indicates there is a clear convergence between the policies of the Government of Suriname and the MDGs. The Human Development Index for Suriname is 0.755, constituting a medium human development country, and ranked 86th in the HDI. The adult literacy rate is 86.2% in 2002 and the life expectancy at birth is 71.5 in 2004 (68.9 for males and 74.1 for females).
The Gross Domestic Product per capita is US $1,925 and the public expenditure on health as % of GDP is 4.97 % in 2002.
- Whereas elements of a social safety net are in place to prevent the unfortunate situation of large numbers of the population living on less than US$1 per day, the committee considering the objective of eliminating extreme poverty and hunger modified the target to a consideration of a national poverty line. Under this methodology, 69.2% of Suriname's population is living under poverty conditions. The Human Development Report 2005 estimates 13% of under-five year old children are undernourished. The poverty line for Suriname estimates 2,400 calories per day for an adult; 69.2% of population has no access to this amount of consumption.
- The net enrollment rate for primary education in 2000-2003 was 90% for children of 6-11 years.
- The ratio of girls-boys at primary school is 1.38 in 2003. Women in parliament are 10 out of 51 members.
- The under-five mortality rate is 24.5 per 1,000 live births and the infant mortality rate reaches 19.2 per 1,000 live births in 2004.
- Immunization coverage is 86.4% for MMR, 84.9% for DPT3 and 83.5% for OPV3 in 2004. In 2005 Suriname introduced the Pentavalent vaccine (Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus, Hepatitis B and Haemophilus Influenzae B)
- Maternal mortality rate is 88 per every 100,000 live births. The percentage of births attended by skilled health personnel 90%.
- The HIV prevalence rate among adults 15-49 years is 1.9 for the year 2004. HIV prevalence among pregnant women aged 15-24 years is 1.6%. In 2004 the numbers of malaria cases were 8522.
- Percentage of the population with sustainable access to potable water 92.6% urban areas, 66.6% rural and 20.0% for the interior. The population with access to sanitary means of excreta disposal, 99.1% in urban areas, 98.3% rural and 30.5% in the interior.
- The Government of Suriname recognizes that a healthy population is the key to development and reflects this resolve in its Health Sector program. The procurement of affordable essential drugs to combat the most threatening diseases is proof of this commitment. Partnership with the Private Sector is seen as a means of encouraging the widespread use of information and communications technologies to the benefit of the country. A program of widening the access to the new technologies is being put in place. ICT holds the promise o reducing the adverse effects of geographical remoteness.
Ministry of Public Health: Patrick Pengel
Henck Arronstraat # 64
Phone: 597 410411
Fax: 597 410 702
Web page: http://www.gov.sr/ministerie-van-volksgezondheid.aspx
PAHO/WHO in the Country.-
PAHO/WHO Representative: Dr. Yitades Gebre
UNDP in the country
Representative: Mr. Richard Blewitt
ZON Home Care: Director Kenneth Gemert.