Moving toward universal access to health and universal health coverage: a review of comprehensive primary health care in Suriname

Stephanie Laryea, Hedwig Goede, Francoise Barten
Rev Panam Salud Publica. 2015;37(6):415–21.
Published online: July 2015


Objective. To provide an overview of comprehensive primary health care (CPHC) development and implementation in Suriname in peer-reviewed literature.

Methods. Building on work funded by the Teasdale-Corti Global Health Research Partnership Program/People’s Health Movement, the authors searched MEDLINE, the Cochrane Library, and POPLINE for articles focused on CPHC within the Surinamese context. Two authors independently reviewed abstracts and then jointly reviewed the selected abstracts. The final selection was completed using a data extraction form. Results. The initial search resulted in 1 556 abstracts. The initial review identified 58 articles. Only three of the 58 articles met the inclusion criteria for the final review. The three selected articles provided partial overviews of CPHC in Suriname and examples of its implementation, with a focus on the service delivery network in the interior of the country, which was designed to improve rural access to basic health care services by training community members as service providers. They also included examples of how preparations for health reform in Suriname in the late 1990s and early 2000s, influenced by global neoliberal reforms, led to expectations that disparities in health status, design of health system components, and service provision related to differences in power and historical context (e.g., the influence of medical professionals, political parties/ethnic groups, and wealthier populations concentrated in urban areas) would be addressed. Conclusions. Given the focus on primary health care in the Americas and the notable developments that have occurred in Surinamese health policy and health care, particularly in health care reform, the paucity of published research on CPHC in Suriname was an unexpected finding that may be partly due to prioritizing research on disease control rather than health policy and systems research. The limited amount of scientific literature on this topic 1) prevents clear understanding of CPHC development and implementation in Suriname and 2) underscores the need to strengthen the national health research system to better inform policies for moving the country toward universal health access and coverage to improve the health of all of its citizens.

KeywordsPalabras clave:
Equity in Health; Primary Health Care; Health Services Research; Universal Coverage; Health Policy, Planning and Management; Suriname.

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