A healthy start for Surinamese babies from teenage parents

19 Jun 2018

Together with partners in the Netherlands and Suriname, TNO and Perisur developed an interactive educational program for teenagers focusing on a healthy start for babies including planning a pregnancy or postponing a pregnancy to increase the chances of a healthy start. This program has been implemented in one of the main secondary schools in Paramaribo and promotes the making of well-considered reproductive choices by secondary school students.

Teenage mothers

Suriname has a multi-ethnic population with an average number of 10,000 annual births. One out of five babies is born with complications such as preterm birth, low birth weight or stillbirth. The proportion of women delivering before the age of 20 is high (18% are teenagers). Teenage pregnancies are often unplanned and unwanted with an increased risk of adverse birth outcomes. For the first time seeing and holding your child is a very beautiful and special moment. The joy can only increase if the child is also healthy and has good development opportunities. That is why parenting also brings a lot of responsibilities. All kinds of risks are still present before, during and after the pregnancy. Issues such as - how does your life look like at that moment and how it could change, are you ready for parenthood, have you found the right partner, do you have sufficient financial resources for the care of a child - all of them affect a conscious pregnancy.

Improving healthy start for a child

The interactive educational program therefore focuses on a healthy start for babies, planning a healthy pregnancy or postponing a pregnancy to increase the chances of a healthy start. This program has been implemented in 15 classes of the De Miranda College, one of the main secondary schools in Paramaribo (393 students; 62% were girls; mean age 17 years). The program included two lessons of 45 minutes. The first lesson focused on teenage pregnancies and teenage motherhood as well as pregnancy planning, fetal development and folic acid use. The lesson was positively evaluated; mean scores for the lesson and educators were 8.4 and 8.6, respectively. Students were most impressed by the topic teenage pregnancy and teenage motherhood (26%). The second lesson focused on sexual resilience using illustrative cases for group discussions. This lesson was also positively evaluated; mean scores for the second lesson and educators were 8.6 and 8.8, respectively. Over 95% of the students liked the interactive discussions.

Interactive group session with students

The project started in March 2017 and will last until December 2018 and is executed with funds from The Rotary Foundation, Rotary Club Leiden and Rotary Club Paramaribo Residence. Partners are TNO Healthy Living, Leiden University Medical Center, and the Royal Dutch College of Midwives (from the Netherlands) and from Suriname the Perisur Foundation and Lobi Foundation Health Center.


Youth: growing up healthily, safely and with good life chances

Fortunately, children in the Netherlands grow up in a reasonably healthy way. Yet there are still some aspects that could be improved. For example, there is more obesity among young people today than... Read more

Better care for pregnancy and childbirth in Suriname

09 December 2016
The nationwide implementation of new interventions in pregnancy and childbirth in Suriname is essential, and an appeal for such was made during the final symposium of Perinatal Interventions Suriname (Perisur).... Read more
Our work

A child’s first thousand days

The first thousand days of a child’s life are crucial for its development. By giving parents proper advice early on and through fast intervention when problems begin, we can prevent the need for more... Read more


Stay up to date with our latest news, activities and vacancies collects and processes data in accordance with the applicable privacy regulations for an optimal user experience and marketing practices.
This data can easily be removed from your temporary profile page at any time.
You can also view our privacy statement or cookie statement.