Large scale study of the effects of mercury and pesticides
The Academic Hospital Paramaribo (AZP) initiated a large-scale study of the effects of mercury and pesticides on maternal and child health under the name ‘MeKi Tamara’.
For a period of five years, thousand pregnant women and the children they bear, will be followed and monitored until they reach the age of four. Among the infants, the development of the brain will be assessed. Furthermore, the risks of important diseases such as diabetes and hypertension will be measured.
“MeKi Tamara is aimed at ensuring a healthy future for the Surinamese population, literally and figuratively!” states Antoine Brahim, general manager of APZ. “Everyone is aware that the use of mercury and pesticides is a problem in Suriname.” Brahim states that the study is funded with a US$ 3M subsidy from the National Institute of Health in the United States. Worldwide only seven countries were granted funding, and Suriname is the only country in the Caribbean that was awarded the funding. According to the AZP Director the study should lead to the enhancement of knowledge and awareness about this public health issue.
Wilco Zijlmans, head of the Scientific Research Center Suriname (SRCS) states that the nomination – process takes both the training and the research into consideration. Suriname received the highest score from all requests worldwide for the training component of professors Maureen Lichtveld of Tulane University and Dennis Mans of the Anton de Kom University of Suriname. Zijlmans states that this is a remarkable acknowledgment, which also benefits the sustainability since it will enable the possibility of providing people with training of outstanding level and they will be able to conduct studies in line with international standards.