With the land of the former US embassy now ceded to the Hospital del Nino (Children’s Hospital – HN) a fund raising campaign for a new structure will soon be under way.
The news comes from Ricardo Crespo, president of the Lions Club and a member of the Board of HN, who said they will immediately undertake a campaign to raise the funds needed to build a new hospital.
The announcement that the 4,851 square meters plot would be passed to the hospital trustees is the fourth in a series of mind changes by the administration of President Ricardo Martinelli.
In December 2009, the then Minister of Economy and Finance, Alberto Vallarino, said that in that the site on Avenida Balboa would be used to buila a financial tower and $7.7 million was spent on design plans and demolition of the old iembassy structure.
After the departure of Vallarino his replacement Frank De Lima vowed to deliver the land to the Ministry of Health to expand the HN.
But in the middle of last July, after difficulties of the Executive in balancing the budget, the Finance Ministry revealed its intention to sell.
On Tuesday, August 7 after three weeks of protests by doctors, nurses, patients and hospital administration, the Cabinet approved the transfer of control of the land. The decision was described as positive by Alberto Bissot, medical director of HN who had spearheaded the campaign to gain possession.
Airwaves heated up on Tuesday when Panama America, a government controlled publication, carried a headline indicating that the President had given the land to the hospital. Commentators and callers said that the land was not the president;s to give ... it belonged to the people.