Statements and Webcast
H.E. Mr. Franklin Vergara, Minister of Health
9 June 2011
- Statement: Spanish (Check against delivery)
FRANKLIN VERGARA, Minister for Health of Panama, recalled that in 2001, his Government had entered into a commitment to strengthen the response to HIV/AIDS. In 2006, it had committed to broadening that response, and remained committed to universal access, including through broadening information services, social policies and clinical care. Universal access was linked to the fulfilment of a broad array of global commitments relating to prevention, treatment, respect for human rights, reducing vulnerability, care for orphaned children, mitigating social and economic effects, research and development, resource mobilization and monitoring and evaluation. One of the best indicators of Panama’s work was its expenditure on HIV/AIDS, which had nearly doubled since 2002, rising from $14 million to more than $21 million, he said.
However, the country could and must do more to increase that expenditure and ensure cost efficiency so that State commitments could be backed by resources, he continued. Panama had promoted HIV testing, making it available to pregnant women with a view to reducing mother-to-child transmission. Over the past five years, the percentage of pregnant women being tested had exceeded 75 per cent, preventing infections among newborns. Young people, the indigenous population, sex workers and men who have sex with men also remained vulnerable, he said. In addition, 12 per cent of people aged 15 to 49 had been tested and received the results. However, a great deal of work remained to be done, he said, noting that the sex workers and men who have sex with other men were the most exposed, and stressing that more must be done to broaden their access. A national study had been conducted to obtain information in order better to target those groups.