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Panama, IDB sign $35 million loan for health sector program

FORTALEZA, Brazil – Panama Finance and Economy Minister Norberto Delgado Duran and Inter-American Development Bank President Enrique V. Iglesias today signed the contracts of a $35 million loan to help finance a program to improve the quality, efficiency, equity and sustainability of the Panamanian health system.

The signing ceremony took place ahead of the annual meeting of the Boards of Governors of the IDB and the Inter-American Investment Corporation, which will be held in this northeastern Brazilian city March 11-13.

The program, which will be carried out in two phases, is aimed at developing a comprehensive package of health services, serving 450,000 of Panama’s poorest people.

These packages will be delivered by different types of civil society groups, including non-government organizations, religious institutions and cooperatives.

The design and implementation of the health services package will be carried out with the participation of the beneficiaries themselves, including indigenous communities. Among the health issues that will be addressed in the program are violence and the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Among the other components of the program will be the transformation of the Panamanian Ministry of Health to improve its administrative and technological processes and human resources, as well as its ability to establish and carry out new policies and coordinate them with other agencies, such as the Social Security Institute.

Under the program, the ministry will decentralize health services management by giving more responsibility to the regions.

During 2001 the IDB provided financing for health service programs in Chile, Nicaragua and Uruguay.

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