This South American country, situated between French Guiana to the east and Guyana to the west, was a Dutch colony until it gained independence in 1975. With a population of 471,000 (2005 estimate), and a female life expectancy of 71.47 years, the birth rate is 18.02 per 1,000 and the infant mortality rate is 23.02 per 1,000 live births.

Diverse Population

The diversity of the population in Suriname has resulted in different problems facing mothers; the native Amerindians now represent less than 2 percent of the population. For those of African descent, many of the traditions follow those in Africa, with women involved not only in childcare, but also in preparation of food, making of clothes, and cultivation of crops.

Some of the Maroons—descendants of slaves who escaped ...

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