Full of disbelief and horror I have been trying for a few days to make the most important news my own: The management of the Academic Hospital Paramaribo (AZP) has announced a stop of admission for planned surgeries. That one line of the entire article is enough for me to conclude that our health care is not going well. It wasn’t so long ago that children died because the Rotavirus had not yet been visualized, now we are faced with another terrifying message. Fortunately, they were able to visualize the virus in time to prevent worse. But postpone surgery. Who gets cut voluntarily without necessity? Is there a certain urgency to that?
In the same article, GPs are called upon to refer patients as much as possible to other hospitals. We all live in Suriname and know how it is at the other hospitals. They also do not have the possibility to receive all patients who are on the waiting list of our largest hospital. This change of procedure is also an enormous stagnation for citizens. This then means for the patients that they have to go to their GP again for a new referral letter and guarantee letter, register again at the other hospital and then wait for a date to be treated. These are planned operations. Where in this process is there a sense of urgency?
According to the management of our largest hospital, the cause of all this has to do with the actions taken by the union. And this is precisely what I cannot understand. The hospital has a policy. Healthcare is not a luxury item offered to do someone a favour, it’s the human rights. The State is obliged to offer its citizens good health care, since there can only be production if we have healthy citizens. That is why healthcare is free in some countries within our region. Is delaying surgery a solution to the problem or has it only made the problem worse? What does the management see as a long-term solution and how do we prevent these kinds of issues in the future? Isn’t it about time that we look at our priority list and possibly adjust it? It should never be the case that we put human lives at risk just to put the interests of others first. The person in need does not come unnecessarily for help.
I urgently appeal to both the government and the union, which may of course seek justice and must stand up for better facilities for its members, to always put humanity first. A sustainable solution must be found in the very short term that will no longer make these kinds of things possible in the future. In our search for solutions, we should try to minimize the creation of bigger problems and realize that we are doing it for each other. As Surinamese we will have to do this ourselves and that is only possible if we believe in and care about each other!