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Saturday, July 26 2014 @ 01:05 AM EDT

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COMENENAL Rejects New Health Code; They Fear Healthcare Will Be Privatized

HealthcareThe members of the National Medical Negotiating Commission (Comenenal) have only one position related to the reforms to the Health Code proposed by the Ministry of Health. For them, these amendments open the doors to the privatization in the health sector.

Domingo Moreno, president of this association, assured this Saturday, July 6th, that this new code admits modifications, which is why they do not consider it appropriate as it should be.

The Government said the updates to the Health Code are necessary by arguing it is now outdated, as it dates back from 1947. In fact, they extended the consultation period for this subject until the end of July.

Moreno said the document opens the door to the private sector to handle the privatization of health in the country, when the State must be responsible for this.

He even questioned that if progress has reached the country why forget the health and education sectors, whose proposals have been taken into account with apathy, contempt and reluctance by the current government administration headed by the President of the Republic, Ricardo Martinelli.

THE CASE OF THE NEWBORNS

In another topic, the leader of the Comenenal referred to the case of the eight newborns who died in the Neonatology Room of the Arnulfo Arias Madrid Hospital from the Social Security Fund.

He said he has noticed the investigations have been slow for this case. Moreno said it seems like the Government wants to “lower the temperature of the problem" and the mothers and relatives of these infants need explanations. (Prensa)

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Specialists From The Center For Disease Control Will Come To Panama Next Week

HealthcareAfter meeting with the mothers of the 8 newborns who died in the Neonatology Room of the Social Security Fund (CSS), Nestor Sosa, director of the Gorgas Memorial Institute for Health Studies (ICGES) confirmed specialists from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention will come to Panama next week.

The specialists are an infectious disease expert and a toxicologist from the center, located in Atlanta, United States, who will join the investigation to find the cause of the deaths of eight newborns at the Hospital of the CSS.

Last July 2, the Social Security Fund and the Ministry of Health requested support from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to cooperate with investigations. The PAHO's already in Panama.

On this case, the director of Medical Benefits from the CSS, Liska Richards, said these deaths were registered between the 12th and 17th of June. The media uncovered this scandal on Friday, June 21. (Estrella)

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COMENENAL Says The Recruitment Of Foreign Doctors Has To Follow Certain Regulations

HealthcarePhysicians’ Unions in Panama gave their opinion on the recruitment of foreign doctors after the President of the National Assembly, Sergio Gálvez, said this decision was not well seen by local doctors.

The president of the National Medical Commission of Negotiations (Comenenal), Domingo Moreno, said the union never refused the recruitment of foreign staff, because they recognize they lack specialists in remote areas. However, all they require is to do it in the right way and according to the law, he said.

Moreno, also the president of the specialists in the Metropolitan Hospital Center said, "We are concerned about the people, not about our pockets."

In this regard "we only request a national health plan, establishing how will everything be organized."

He said this plan should go hand in hand with the construction of well-equipped facilities, with technological equipment, drugs and supplies, as well as trained and qualified personnel.

He said the COMENENAL has always been open to dialogue, so they expect the authorities to understand that all things must work towards the benefit of the people.

Yesterday, the President of the National Assembly said the intention of the Ministry of Health – by recruiting foreign physicians in order to benefit people living in remote areas – is seen in a selfish way by local doctors. (Prensa)

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The Crisis In The CSS About The Death Of The Newborns

HealthcareThe clinical situation at the Hospital of the Social Security Fund (CSS) is increasing more and more every day. The deaths of the eight newborns in the Neonatology Room have not been clarified yet. CSS authorities requested the assistance of the Pan-American Organization of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the investigations of this case. The director of the institution, Guillermo Saez Llorens, talked about the progress of the investigation but did not give further details. Some doctors remain silent and the relatives are still expecting to receive an answer about why their children died. Some sources even say a total of 11 newborns died instead of eight.

The beginning of the crisis

On June 21, the media alarmed the community about the event, but before this, people were already talking about the situation. Some of the parents of these newborns started talking about the issue days before, but they were being ignored. Then, the CSS and the Ministry of Health immediately reported the increase in deaths of newborns. At that moment, a technical team started the investigation process to determine the cause of death. Lizka Richards, director of medical services of the CSS, said these events were reported between June 12 and June 17.

The involved

Saez Llorens faced the problem, but he only said the investigations have shown no results yet. Liska Richard said the investigation carried out by the Specialized Analysis Institute of the University of Panama revealed that everything was fine, but this is not convincing for the relatives.

The health minister, Javier Diaz, said nothing about this, he only passed the floor during the conference. Richard said the Public Ministry did the autopsies on three bodies; however, the other four were conducted by the CSS because their deaths were related to an infection. One of the relatives decided not to have her baby go through this process.

What is at stake?

The life of other children can be in danger, said Yilani Bernardo, director and doctor in the Health Center of Chimán and mother of one of the deceased babies. This woman, who received the autopsy results of her daughter, said a week ago that the results stated she died due to disseminated intravascular coagulation, in other words a hemorrhage. Bernardo is outraged because her child was born in perfect conditions. "Malpractice" is what she claims about the rest of the relatives, who express their unrest in the media.

Public health is impaired, the equipment used by the CSS is not the ideal to care for newborns, said Gerardo González, secretary general of the National Association of Administrative Officials of the Social Security Fund (ANFACSS). "There is a great shortage of surgical supplies and materials to work" said the official.

Why is it taking so long?

The General Directorate of Public Health ordered the autopsies for the newborns, with the purpose of collaborating with the investigations. While the analysis continues, health authorities are currently the target of criticism from its users and insured who demand more efficiency in the health system. (Estrella)

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Four Cases Of H1N1 Reported In Panama

HealthcareFour cases of H1N1 (swine flu) have been detected in the city, according to the director of the Metropolitan Health Region, Jorge Hassan.

According to the official, these are isolated cases, however, he advised people with cold symptoms to go to the hospital.

Algis Torres, director of the Health Region of San Miguelito, said a total of 13 cases of AH2N2 flu have been reported, also known as common flu.

According to Torres, the health authorities are conducting an epidemiological fence for the H1N1 in Colombia and Venezuela to prevent it from coming back to Panama.

Roger Arauz, from the Patient and Family Committee asked the health authorities to implement vaccination campaigns to prevent the proliferation of the influenza. (Siglo)

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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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