This chapter includes the following articles.
Despite a number of setbacks, Panama’s health care sector has seen significant advancement in recent years. The former administration of Ricardo Martinelli oversaw a period of significant infrastructure expansion, and the country is now closer than ever to achieving universal coverage. Meanwhile, the government of Juan Carlos Varela has remained committed to improving access and increasing efficiency, while maintaining the previous government’s emphasis on expanding public infrastructure. The administration now faces the task of addressing the myriad of challenges that continue to affect the health care sector, in particular capacity and health personnel shortages, while leading the country through the transition to a prevention-focused health care model. Though the recent rise in sector infrastructure is an encouraging step to improving access, reducing waiting lists and improving health outcomes, the severe skill shortage remains an obstacle to the sector’s development, and one that will require a multi-faceted approach.
This chapter features an interview with Francisco Javier Terrientes Mojica, Minister of Health.