Sensitization of Community and Training of Community Health Workers
Suriname’s testing rate of .04 per 1000 people, like many LMICs, remains below the WHO’s recommended rate of 1 per 1000. In an effort to build a sustainable testing model, the Suriname Ministry of Health in collaboration with The Foundation for the advancement of Scientific Research in Suriname (SWOS) launched a programme to integrate COVID-19 into an existing malaria testing programme targeted at mobile and migrant mining population in the interior of Suriname. Doing so allowed the existing malaria service delivery providers to be trained in COVID-19 testing, where the deployment of community health workers (CHW) has improved access to malaria diagnostics, fostered health promotion and ensured sureveillance. The CHW are themselves locally recruited from the community, to lower geographical, language and cultural barriers to testing. They are also trained on sensitizing the community to testing. Because they are already located in hard to reach areas, this example showcases bi-directional testing strategies that can be replicated for other diseases in other contexts.