President Martinelli inspected the construction of a new hospital in Panama East (across the bridge of the Americas) and in doing so, announced to the press that new hospitals will be built in remote areas with few medical facilities such as Darien, which does not currently have a hospital, Bocas Del Toro and the Indian reserves. The funds for these projects will be included in the government budget for 2010.
Better health care is one of the government´s campaign promises. Panama health care, both that of Social Security and the Ministry of Health, are being reformed. Under the Social Security system it is hard to get appointments, surgeries are scheduled months down the road and then canceled. Thus President Martinelli has set up a single electronic file for each patient instead of paper files, and has established a call center for making appointments instead of getting up at 4AM to get in line, are among some of the reforms.
Many other campaign promises are on the road to being fulfilled as well. The President promised aid to senior citizens without social security and this went through with the program “100 for 70” meaning that people over 70 with no social security or pensions the goverment has established a base $100.00 per month.
He also promised better security for citizens and one of his first steps towards this was raising the salary of the police force, delivering new equipment and more ongoing training. The new transport system, a metro, is already in the works with plans for it being drawn up. Electricity in Panama is the most expensive in Central America and the President has taken steps to lower the cost.
His government is the first in many years to build social interest housing. One thousand homes will be built in Curundu, one of the most crime and poverty ridden areas in Panama City.
There are also social projects destined to help young people join the labor force, other programs to help kids that are at social risk become productive members of society. There are many other projects on the way. In fact this government seems to have rolled up its sleeves and started working for Panama and its people.
For more information on Panama: PanamaQmagazine