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Press Releases 2013

U.S. Supports Panama’s Public Health and Emergency Preparedness

February 4, 2013
Deputy Chief of Mission John C. Law, Dr. Elias Mayorga and Dr. Nestor Vega Yuil of Hospital Santo Thomas

Deputy Chief of Mission John C. Law, Dr. Elias Mayorga and Dr. Nestor Vega Yuil of Hospital Santo Thomas

In a demonstration of the U.S. Embassy’s support of Panama’s Public Health and Emergency Preparedness, Deputy Chief of Mission John C. Law formally donated decontamination and triage equipment to Dr. Elias Mayorga of Hospital Santo Thomas and Dr. Frederik Medrano of Hospital Nacional in ceremonies at those hospitals today. The U.S. Embassy’s donation of more than $100,000 of equipment marked the conclusion of a three part training to help Panama learn from the U.S. in the management of large scale public health incidents. This training and equipment was provided by the Embassy’s Regional Security Office, through the U.S. Department of State Diplomatic Security Service’s Anti-Terrorism Assistance Program. 

More than 100 Panamanians participated in the courses that were offered in three areas: first responder to terrorist incidents, critical incident management, and hospital based management of mass casualty incidents.  The courses brought together public and private organizations and personnel who are crucial in planning and management of large scale public health incidents.  These collaborations resulted in the sharing of ideas between professionals to help build Panama’s preparedness by learning from disasters that have occurred in the United States.

The Anti-Terrorism Assistance Program began in 1983 as a joint venture between the Secretary of State’s Coordinator for Counterterrorism, who provides policy oversight and funding, and Diplomatic Security, who designs and implements the training programs.  Through the program, the Department joins with partner nations to increase capabilities for those countries in preparing for, investigating, interrupting, and responding to terrorist plots and incidents.  Panama has been a participating partner since 1987. Locally, the training is coordinated by Diplomatic Security Special Agents in the Embassy’s Regional Security Office.