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Panama Multi-Country Office: Monthly Operational Update (August 2022)

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Countries under the Multi-Country Office (MCO) in Panama continue to feel the socio-economic impact of the pandemic, andthe global burst in energy and food prices.

In Guyana, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) conducted an assessment covering 330 health facilitiesand found alarming gaps in the provision of health care, revealing that 24 per cent of the buildings needurgent structural repairs, 20 per cent lack power,and 94 per cent lack potable water. Less than50per centofthe health posts havean ambulance, and hospitals require basic medical supplies or commonly used medications,posing additional barriersto access health services forrefugees and asylum seekers.

In Panama, small and medium-sized pharmacy owners opposed a government decree establishing a 30 per cent discount over 170meds, as their proposal to fulfill the pledge of making medication available at a lower cost, taken after July’s national protests.More than 450 small pharmacies closed their doors for several days, stating that themeasurecould force them to bankruptcy. Mostrefugees and asylum seekersreport that they cannot afford the necessary medical drugs,a situation that worsens for those withchronic disease.

In Suriname, protests against ongoing government corruption scandals are spreading, while in Cubathe economic challenges due to thefallout from the COVID pandemiccontinue to affect the island and its population, with extensive electricity cuts and petrol shortages