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Sunday, April 20 2014 @ 04:17 AM EDT

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MINSA Reported 100 Cases Of Classic Dengue Fever

HealthcareHealth authorities have a record of approximately 100 cases of classic dengue fever with warning signs. This is why the head of the Health Metropolitan Region, Jorge Hassan, said they will continue with their efforts of fighting the Aedes aegypti mosquito breeding sites, vector of dengue fever.

He said these cases of dengue with warning signs are mostly seen among the residents of the 24 de Diciembre.

Hassan said in a statement, that eight people have died from dengue hemorrhagic fever. The official said at least five cases are currently being treated by medical personnel.

Hassan said the actions taken by the health personnel have helped controlling the amount of incidents. However, he said even though the authorities are working from Monday to Sunday to reduce mosquitoes, the citizens must also cooperate.

The Ministry of Health has invested approximately $1,179,626 this year in tools used for spraying. (Prensa)

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Nurses Give Their Statements On The Deaths Of Newborns In The Neonatology Room

HealthcareThe Assistant Prosecutor initiated an investigation into the death of eight babies in the Neonatal room of the Arnulfo Arias Madrid hospital of the Social Security Fund (CSS).

The information was confirmed by the Attorney General's Office, Ana Belfon, who explained this office instructed the Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences (IMELCF) to carry out the autopsies of the bodies to establish the cause of death. The samples for the analysis were taken from at least three of the bodies.

Belfon said this result is essential to establish a punishable act and determine who will be responsible for this event.

Meanwhile, the Assistant Prosecutor proceeded to take sworn statements from the mothers of the infants who died and then the health staff will be called to give their statements. The nursing staff has been interviewed since yesterday and during the next few days the doctors will be interviewed to take their statements. So far, the office of instruction has not qualified the summary, because it is in the initial stage.

It was known that the CSS is contacting patients who gave birth from March to this date, in order to check the medical history of the babies and examine the evolution of their growth and development. (Panama America)

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Martinelli Said The Government Never Thought About Closing The Mental Health Hospital

HealthcareThe President of the Republic, Ricardo Matinelli, said the Government never planned on closing the Mental Health Hospital, through his Twitter account @rmartinelli.

"The national government has NOT thought about closing the Psychiatric Hospital of Panama.
Please, stop spreading rumors about this," said the president.

For the third day in a row, the staff of the Mental Health Hospital blocked the Via Jose Agustin Arango during the afternoon as a protest against the closure of the hospital.

After they blocked the road, the officials reached an agreement with the authorities of the Ministry of Health.

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The Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences Institute Will Give The Results Of The Autopsies

HealthcareThis week, the Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences (IMELCF) will announce the results of the autopsy performed on two of the eight newborns who died in the Neonatology Room of the Arnulfo Arias Madrid Hospital of the Social Security Fund (CSS).

This was said by the director of the institute, Humberto Mas, who said the results are being analyzed at the moment.

The death of these newborns, who were between 25 and 30 weeks old, has raised fear in women who are currently pregnant.

Such is the case of one of the patients interviewed by El Siglo, Ana Garcia, who despite being three months away from her due date, said she is very concerned about the situation, so she is requesting the authorities to condition the room where the newborns are. (Siglo)

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Unions Request The Public Ministry To Investigate The Deaths Of Newborns

HealthcareAfter the death of several newborns at the Arnulfo Arias Madrid Hospital Center of the Social Security Fund (CSS), patient associations and unions are demanding to have these investigations conducted by an external entity to the center where the deaths occurred.

According to the president of the Patient Protection and Assistance to Families Committee, Roger Bares, the Public Ministry (MP) and the Department of Forensic Medicine should be the ones in charge of performing the autopsies of the newborns.

“The committee requests an investigation into the deaths of the children and requests the relatives of the children to demand justice for the competent authorities to take action," said Bares.

The president of the Association of Employees from the CSS, Priscilla Vasquez, said she is concerned about this situation because the medical institution does not have a strict adherence to the preventive regulations of nosocomial infections.

THEY DEMAND ANSWERS

About the strange death of eight newborns, Fernando Castañeda, director of the National Negotiating Medical Commission (COMENENAL), said the authorities of the hospital should provide the research reports they are working on, because the cause of death is still unknown.

“It is not the first time there are unexplained deaths in the CSS,” said Castañeda, referring to the deaths that occurred between 2011 and 2012 due to the bacteria Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase (KPC).

According to the leader, the administration of the CSS should seek international support to get to the bottom of the causes that led to the death of the newborns.

In a statement, the CSS and the Ministry of Health reported the deaths took place during the last two weeks and they do not believe these events had anything to do with nosocomial bacteria.

The Health Minister, Javier Diaz, said specialists and epidemiologists are investigating the possible relationship between the deaths. (Siglo)

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The CSS Confirmed A Total Of 8 Newborns Died

HealthcareThe Health Minister, Javier Diaz, acknowledged the deaths of eight infants in the neonatal intensive care unit of the Hospital Arnulfo Arias Madrid from the Social Security Fund (CSS).

Diaz gave this statement after the newspaper “La Estrella” reported these deaths.

Medical sources in the hospital mentioned as a possible cause of these deaths a heparin solution (anticoagulant) containing a toxic product. Some sources say a total of 11 infants actually died.

The doctors claimed the CSS sent a qualified health specialist a week ago to do a report on the case.

In a statement, the CSS recognized an “increase in deaths of infants which is currently under investigation.” (Estrella)

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Health Authorities Confirmed An Increase in Neonatal Deaths

HealthcareThe Social Security Fund (CSS) and the Ministry of Health (MINSA) confirmed there is an unusual increase in neonatal deaths in the Hospital Dr. Arnulfo Arias Madrid.

According to the authorities, the epidemiological vigilance system detected an increase in neonatal deaths in the Neonatal Service of the hospital, and now "a technical team of competent professionals is currently investigating to determine the cause of death of all these cases and then, they will proceed to notify the Ministry of Health about their findings."

Through a statement, the CSS and the MINSA reported they ordered autopsies on the infants and any other study in order to know the possible causes of death.

"The relatives of the deceased children have been informed about why these autopsies were ordered," said the note, without specifying the number of deaths. They said they have not had any other case recently. (Prensa)

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FAQ: "Can I Get Pain Medications In Panama?"

HealthcareBy Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com - Readers often send email asking personal questions regarding their particular circumstances, wanting to know if they can do this or that in Panama. I recently received a query from a person who lives in Southern Costa Rica, relatively near the border with Panama, who needs to take powerful pain medications every day to help them deal with chronic back pain. After they moved to Costa Rica they discovered that drugs like morphine, Percocet (a combination of acetaminophen and oxycodone), Vicodin (a combination of acetaminophen and hydrocodone), or oxycodone alone are "not sold" in the area where they now live. They are asking me if they can get these drugs at a pharmacy in Panama.

Lots of Good Drugs In Panama - The answer is yes. All of these medications are sold and available in the Republic of Panama. However all of these relatively powerful and sometimes habit forming pain medications are sold only in response to a prescription issued by a Panamanian doctor. So, the person asking the questions would have to first make an appointment to be seen by a Panamanian physician who would presumably verify the medical condition and then, if necessary, issue the prescriptions for the required medications to treat the associated pain. Then the prescriptions could be filled at the pharmacy in David, and the person could then return to their home in Costa Rica.

International Drug Trafficking? I have no idea if there are any restrictions on taking these sorts of prescription medications back across the border. I also don't know how many or how much of this sort of stuff can be sold at one pop. Like, they might give you a 30 day supply with two refills for 90 day coverage, but that means the person asking the question would have to make a road trip to David once a month, at least. I also don't know if the pharmacies in David have a tendency to run out of this sort of stuff. It might make sense to call ahead and ask, to make sure they have it on hand when the patient returns with the prescription. Planning will hopefully prevent some surprises. Like, getting arrested at the border for trying to illegally import a controlled substance...

Why Ask Just One Dude? The primary reason for writing this article was to remind all readers that - rather than asking just me via direct email - you would be much better off asking the members of the Americans in Panama Yahoo! email group (AIP). There are now 6,245 members in this largest, most active, and most useful Panama specific email chat group. It simply makes more sense to ask your questions to many people, rather than just one. Once you've joined, all you have to do is send a single email to the group's address (americans_in_panama@yahoogroups.com) and it will automatically be sent to all of the group's members. And of course all responses are sent to all members, so it's a sort of open forum real time chat or discussion. Chances are, no matter what your question, there's someone else who has already gone through the exact same problem you're addressing.

Ownership and Management: I own the AIP group (and several others), which I created on 19 September 2002. My friend Clyde Jenkins is the moderator (bouncer) and between us we keep the group useful and on track. As you might imagine any forum like this tends to attract its share of trolls and troublemakers, pathetic losers who get their jollies by yanking chains and stirring up controversy - mostly out of either boredom or mental illness. We've been doing this for more than ten years now, and usually we can spot a troll from miles away, often with their first post. Most importantly, we work hard to keep the group useful and informative to all members and we manage under the mantra the "needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one." So if we piss off one guy to protect 6,244 others, then so be it, and the troublemaker gets booted off. C'ya...

Rules and Guidelines: If you can make it through a day in a third grade classroom without getting sent to the Principal's office, then you'll do fine on AIP. The rules are pretty non-specific, and follow common sense;

  • Keep It On Topic - Americans in Panama is about living in the Republic of Panama, and we're always working to "keep it about Panama." Meaning, a heated debate about gun control in the United States would be off topic. However, a discussion about obtaining a personal weapon for home defense in Panama would most certainly be on topic, and allowed. This is just one example, and there are dozens of others.

  • Just Be Nice - We're all adults, so it should be possible to disagree with someone else's opinion and state your own position without having to resort to name calling or other childish behaviour. Responding with "I respectfully disagree with your opinion, and here's why..." is much better than "You're a friggin' moron, and I'm going to prove you wrong..." It's better to focus on the message, and not the messenger.

  • Help Your Fellow Expat - Try to be a good neighbor and member of our ever growing community of English speaking expatriates in the Republic of Panama. Look for ways to contribute in a positive manner, make suggestions, share your experiences, and describe how you came to accumulate your particular brand of Panama wisdom. While we all have shared experiences, some have relatively narrow and focused paths - like maybe getting Vicodin in David and taking it to Costa Rica, for instance? When you read the messages you'll instantly recognize those opportunities to help others by sharing your wisdom, knowledge, and experiences gained.

  • Do Your Homework! Newbies are expected to do a basic Google search (first) before jumping on the net with basic questions that can easily be answered with a simple Internet search. If your first post is "what's the weather like in Panama" you can expect to be either ignored, or blasted with "Google is your friend" sort of comments. AIP is much better for getting the answers to hard questions - the sort of stuff that's not common knowledge - situations our members have figured out through trial and error. So do a little work on your own first and don't expect AIP members to search the Internet for you. But if you can't find the answer on your own after having given it a good effort then by all means fire away.

  • Moderation and Management - Don't post messages about the way Clyde and I manage the group. Often times we will place a troublemaker on moderated status without announcing it to the general membership at large. Our goal is to try to make our management of the net invisible. It should be happening behind and scenes and out of the limelight, in a quiet and professional manner. There's a tendency (on our part) to want to say "I just booted that guy" who was making trouble, but now we are just taking out the trash, and not talking about it. Why should we? There's no need whatsoever to talk about how, or why, or who, or when, or whatever - with regards to the managerial decisions we make. These sorts of discussions tend to quash debate and poison the net, so we avoid them. Managing the group is our job, so just let us do it, and you don't have to worry about it.

  • Commercial and Advertising - We have an "about once a month or so" rule with regards to individuals who own businesses in Panama. Anyone who owns a restaurant, B&B, real estate office, or any other sort of business in Panama is encouraged to post promotions or advertisements "about once a month or so" to simply inform and remind our members about their "gringo owned and operated" business. There is nothing wrong with this, whatsoever. In the past ten years I can only remember one individual who simply refused to respect our repeated requests to keep the volume and frequency down to the "about once a month or so" rule, and that guy was posting almost daily. Here's a neat trick - just include your business information as a signature at the end of the email you post to the group. So, if you post a message trying to help another member with a problem, then every post contains your name, contact information, website address, email address, cell phone number, Skype contact, Twitter account, etc. All without coming across as a persistent prick. I tell all of my friends in the business community to do this. This works as well for people who manage other similar sorts of groups and forums, websites, and news or media outlets. You can help AIP members while promoting and getting additional exposure your your gig. There are a great number of "area specific" groups and networks that focus on the Pacific beach area for example, or the David area, or Boquete, or Bocas del Toro. AIP covers all of Panama, and if you move to a smaller area then you will probably also want to join the local nets as well. There are "subject matter experts" in every little niche who are willing to help and share their experiences.

And That's About It: Pretty simple, really. Common sense, nothing that's hard to understand. The vast majority of AIP members are "lurkers" meaning they read every post but rarely post themselves. A few members are regular contributors who are generous with their time, and who are willing to make a consistent effort to help and improve the knowledge base for the common good. Everyone takes their own approach. Imagine a room full of 6,245 people and everyone has an equal ability to speak up and talk, if they choose to do so. Amazingly enough, we seem to have found a way to turn that gaggle into a pretty incredible resource - and I encourage you all to take advantage of it. I hope you can all get the pills you need to deal with whatever pains you might have - and more than that I hope you can heal to the point where eventually won't need any pills at all. Have a great day, filled with light, love, hope, happiness, and generosity.

Copyright 2013 Panama-Guide.com.

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30% Of The Minsitry Of Health's Employees Did Not Qualify For A Raise

HealthcareThe Ministry of Health (MINSA) gave a raise on Friday, June 14, to its employees; however, 30% of them did not qualify to receive it, according to the established administrative criteria.

Meanwhile, 70% of the employees, i.e. about 11,261 members of the staff including doctors, nurses, health technicians and administrative employees in the MINSA were benefited with a raise granted by the institution through a retroactive disbursement from January through to June 2013.

The overall salary increase was granted depending on the salary range, in the following order: those with a salary up to $799 received a 14% increase; those who earn between 800 and 1,499 received a 12% increase and those who earn more than 1,500 received a 10% increase.

This increase in salary represents an expenditure of $14.1 million per year for the Ministry of Health. (Panama America)

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CSS Hires A Cleaning Company For $17,000

HealthcareThe Social Security Fund (CSS) hired a contractor company called “Hombres de Blanco (Men in White)” for a provisional period of one month, at a cost of $17,500, which will be responsible for cleaning the entire first floor of the Dr. Manuel Amador Guerrero Hospital Complex (CHMAG), reported the health entity during this afternoon.

The company started working earlier this week, and they will be in charge of cleaning the emergency room, at which approximately 7,000 people are cared for every month, as well as the floors, walls, and the outside and inside of the first floor.

Ivan Ibarra, administrator of the hospital said they are hiring this company for the benefit of the users, and at the same time, this will give the cleaning staff more time to clean other rooms of the hospital.

Currently, lay off of staff, resignation and retirement, have affected the maintenance staff, which has become a "critical point", hence they are reinforcing this area. Also, Ibarra asked the community who go to this hospital to keep the area clean.

This hospital is responsible of caring for a total of 240,000 people. (Prensa)

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