A broad swathe of Panamaians from doctors and nurses to community organizations and civic groups are awaiting a cabinet decision on their plea for land for a new children’s hospital.
The center of their expectations is the plot on Avenida Balboa where the former American embassy once stood. The building was knocked down in the face of widespread calls for its use for medical or social purposes, but the government was intent on constructing a 70 story tower to house the Ministry of Finance. Nearly $8 million was paid to a local architect to build the tower which would have encroached on the lands of the adjacent Santo Tomas Hospital.
When the plan was spiked, the nearby 62 year old Hospital del Nino (HN) which suffers from overcrowding and cramped facilities asked for the land to be used for a new hospital. But the government which has been on a road and railworks spending spree said it needed the money and plans to sell the land.
On Sunday August 5, Alberto Bissot CEO of Santo Tomas reminded the authorities that the application for the grant of the land is for the benefit of all children in the country and not to anyone in particular and stressed that the initiative came from the HN doctors, civil society, civic clubs and other health groups "We need to build a new hospital and we can not postpone it for more years because the children cannot wait," said Bissot.
For years the doctors of HN have said that a new construction is a priority for the country, which "must be met in the short term," he said. Previously hospital doctors have warned of the risk posed right now of nosocomial infections in the current building due to overcrowding, especially in the nursery.
The director said that it is necessary to build the hospital is made ??near Santo Tomas Hospital (HST), maternity “where 20% of Panama's population is born.”
Minister of the Presidency, Roberto Henriquez, has come out against this application, but says that the proposal submitted by the doctors will be duly considered by the Cabinet Council.
However, members of the pro Children's Hospital group directed by Dr Stephen Perdomo doctor do not trust the word of the Government and will continue to take measures against the negative pressure against ceding the land for a new hospital.