Quick Facts

  • Officially known as the Republic of Suriname
  • Gained independence from the Netherlands on November 25, 1975
  • Location:  Northern South America; bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between French Guiana and Guyana
  • Area:  63,251 sq. miles, slightly larger than the state of Georgia
  • Population:  560,157
  • Capital:  Paramaribo
  • Climate:  tropical; moderated by trade winds
  • Terrain:  mostly rolling hills; narrow coastal plain with swamps
  • Nationality:  Surinamer
  • Ethnic groups:  Hindustani (known locally as East Indians) 37%, Creole 31%, Javanese 15%, Maroons 10%, others
  • Language:  Dutch (official), English (widely spoken), Sranang tongo (native language of Creole’s and younger population)
  • Religions:  Hindu 27.4%, Protestant 25.2%, Roman Catholic 22.8%, Muslim 19.6%, others
  • Literacy:  89.6% over the age of 15 can read and write
  • Economy:  dominated by the mining industry, with exports of alumina, gold and  oil accounting for about 85% of exports and 25% of government revenues.  Other exports include rice, bananas and shrimp.  About 1/4 of the people work in the agriculture sector.
  • Current weather conditions –  www.weather.com
  • Tips for Travel in country – www.travel.state.gov
  • Currency exchange rates –  www.xe.com

Government in Power

  • Government type is a constitutional democarcy
  • Chief of State and Head of Government – President Desire Bouterse – elected by the National Assembly


Healthcare Statistics

  • Life expectancy:  71.12 years
  • Health expenditures:  7.6% of GDP
  • Physicians density:  0.45 physicians/1,000 population
  • Hospital bed density:  3.16 beds/1,000 population
  • HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate:  1%
  • Major infectious diseases – degree of risk – high
  • Food or waterborne diseases:  bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A and typhoid fever
  • Vectorborne diseases:  dengue fever, Mayaro virus and malaria
  • Water contact diseases:  leptospirosis
  • A rabies risk is present
  • Infectious disease updates:  http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list.htm

Images From the Field

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Area Agencies

Field Stories

Translators in the Field: Providing aid in many countries will require translators. Often your group is fortunate to have one or several individuals who speak the native dialect. This is a definite plus. A couple points to be aware of with the use of translators: You may notice, as I often have, when using translators […]


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