Joint declaration of Panama’s public sector doctors

The nation’s doctors have been there for the Panamanian people, not only in the hospitals and clinics. Archive photo from Panamá Profundo.

COMENENAL communiqué to the nation

Panama, December 18, 2020

COMENENAL held an extraordinary meeting today with the participation of 142 medical colleagues, given the evident debacle of the health system in Panama that has put the entire country at risk due to a 2nd Wave of Pandemic caused by:

1) Failure of the economic reopening mainly due to:

a. Opening of the international airport WITHOUT the real and effective control for the positive cases of COVID that were detected by the dozen from the first day.
b. Opening of businesses without strict compliance with biosafety regulations by them.
c. Breach of social distancing in public transportation.
d. Lastly, the irresponsibility of some sectors of society, young people and adults.

2) Failure of the traceability strategy (secondary prevention) by not being able to guarantee results in 48 hours:

a. Preventive quarantine, real isolation.
b. Guaranteed coverage of basic food and medicine needs.
c. Immediate and stratified anti-COVID treatment for each group of patients.
d. Not being able to keep up anymore, with an avalanche of up to 3,000 cases a day.
e. By not having hostels and hotels.

3) Failure to contain the pandemic (primary prevention) at the first level of care:

a. With organization and empowerment of the community through new Health Committees. With members who speak their own language and have their idiosyncrasies.
b. With brigades and volunteers for internal solidarity within each community (be it the neighborhood, a street, a hamlet or a village in the mountains).
c. With guaranteed primary care for the control of patients with chronic non-communicable diseases.

4) Exhaustion of all health personnel, after 10 months of pandemic.

5) Famine, with at least 15% of the population in extreme poverty since before the pandemic

6) The need to bring foreign doctors is only a consequence of all the above.

The causes of these bad results are:

1. The government bet on saving banks and private companies over saving the most vulnerable population. Hence the billions that are not seen.

2. The government decided to agree on technical aspects of the pandemic only with businessmen.

3. To have ignored the suggestion to form another much broader parallel consultative commission with health-care physicians, epidemiologists, veterinarians, sociologists, anthropologists, societies and schools, unions of all health workers; eminently Technical.

4. Not having put at the forefront of the pandemic, at all levels, the best prepared and technical people to face it and leave cadres who only see political commitment.

5. Not having invoked the Critical Shortage Law only to buy directly abroad through UN agencies. Invoking it to buy directly from the same internal suppliers as always would be another act of corruption.

6. Have fostered and created generalized distrust:

a. By not nipping corruption in all its forms in the bud. (Form 002, 11 new townships in Bocas del Toro, overpricing scandals, second-rate hospitals, unnecessary expenses of the CSS and MINSA, etc., etc.,
b. By not having guaranteed a sufficient and timely existence of PPE and biosecurity
c. By not having guaranteed payment on time for all health workers.
d. By having tried many times to make up “reality.”
e. By the contradictions in statements, with continuous rectifications.

7. Not having Economic, Social, or Health planning during this crisis, not any post-pandemic vision.

8. Repression of all protests and divergent ideas in the opinion of the government.

9. Not having a policy independent of international economic powers.

10. Social and political sectors that have criticized the government only with an aim to sink it, without respecting scientific criteria and arguments.

11. Societies and unions that claimed to have proposals that later they have not delivered.

12. A minority of health workers who have preferred not to join the common fight against COVID.

Time is up. COMENENAL demands strong actions from the national government:

1) Total or near total quarantine throughout the country where the RT is above 1.

2) A technical table for direct negotiations with the Minister of Health and the government where we will give them our INTEGRAL response and suggestions to correct each of the first six points of this statement.

3) The will to make demonstrable corrections, with tangible facts, of at least the 12 causes mentioned here.

If not, we will be forced to join social activism in the streets.

Leaders of MINSA, leaders of the government, correct the course.

Reactivate the Health Committees throughout the country!

COMENENAL’s commitment is with the Panamanian people and against corruption in all its forms. Already we have been called and we do comply.

Comisión Médica Negociadora Nacional

Dr. Domingo Moreno
President of AMECHM
Coordinator of COMENENAL

Dr. Julio Osorio
Vice President of AMEHR-Chiriqui
Secretary of COMENENAL


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