The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) approved a project to help Panama address the COVID-19 crisis by fully financing the country's contracts with the COVAX Facility and the AstraZeneca laboratory. This will help increase Panama’s access to life-saving vaccines.
The project has three main objectives: to increase the available number of vaccines and support related vaccination processes; to develop a communication campaign to inform the population about the vaccine rollout; and to resume the provision of essential healthcare services in vulnerable areas, especially for pregnant women and patients with chronic diseases.
The project comes at a critical moment for helping Panama accelerate its vaccine rollout, before potentially more contagious or resistant variants spread. It is also key to helping restore essential health services, which during the pandemic have fallen between 54% and 87% in indigenous regions.
This initiative is expected to protect and improve the lives of more than one million Panamanians by helping them get vaccines. It also aims to save lives by preventing new outbreaks and by resuming key healthcare services for the most vulnerable people.
The program forms part of the inclusive approach to development that is a bedrock of Vision 2025, the IDB’s blueprint for driving sustainable socioeconomic growth throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.
The initiative will promote equitable access to quality vaccines and essential services for indigenous populations and vulnerable women. It will also develop a differentiated approach to doing this, adapting the vaccination and health care strategy to the context and needs of indigenous peoples. It will also include evaluations to measure compliance requirements related to the program and to ensure equitable access to vaccines.