The Suriname Red Cross Society (SRCS), in collaboration with the Canadian Red Cross, hosted the Public Health in Emergency (PHiE) Training, on Monday 30th July, 2018. The training, which saw eighteen participants from all over the world, representing varied national societies, journey to Paramaibo in Suriname, was a week-long activity. It began with welcome remarks from Wbeimar Sanchez, the Public Health Delegate for the Americas Region. Thea Smith, Director General of the Suriname Red Cross Society also welcomed everyone to her country. Regional Director, Walter Cotte gave a brief address that focused on the importance of Health, describing it as “one of our DNA components.” He spoke to the four main factors; Health in Emergencies, Community Health, Health in Complex Settings and Healthy Lifestyles. He made sure to thank the facilitators and their Partner National Societies.

This PHiE training will equip the health officers with skills across a wide range of technical areas from water-borne diseases to sexual and reproductive health in emergencies and prepare them to join surge pools that support Red Cross Red Crescent National Societies to respond to the health issues faced in disasters and crises in the Americas and around the world. This training is particularly important for the Caribbean in the midst of its hurricane season which has often brought with it destructive winds, flooding, and landslides. The training was provided in English, however, is expected to adapt it to the Spanish in the near future in order to get coverage through the region.

The Suriname Red Cross Society also hosted a book launch at the SRCS headquarters on the evening on Monday 30th July. The book, entitled, Saving Lives, Changing Minds, covers seventy-five years of the history of the Surinamese Red Cross Society. It is divided into three periods of twenty-five years and begins in 1940. The launch featured addresses by notable persons including Chiara Wirht, a youth volunteer, the Medical Director of the Blood Bank, Maria Tjon A Loi, as well as Regional Director, Walter Cotte. President of the Suriname Red Cross Society, Marja Naarendorp, detailed the process of getting the project off the ground and Thea Smith, Director General, gave a sense of what the accomplishment means to the SRCS. The book was presented to specially invited guests and a toast. The evening ended with dinner and mingling of the attendees. The events were part of the celebrations for the 75th anniversary celebrations of the Suriname Red Cross Society.