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5 Facts about Panama’s Healthcare System

Panama's Healthcare
According to a study, both physical and mental health have links with poverty. Being able to perform basic tasks such as breastfeeding, going to school, growing food and feeding a family all require one to be in good health to stay alive and be a productive member of society. In the same context, if someone is making below minimum wage consistently or struggling in poverty, they likely will not be able to afford adequate health care to keep up with the tasks involved in being a healthy and productive member of society. While Panama has issues in its healthcare system, available facts show the country has one of the better healthcare systems in the world. Here is some information about health in Panama along with fives facts about Panama’s healthcare system.

A Brief Overview of Health in Panama

As early as 2019, Panama had a population of 4.2 million people, with a fertility rate of 2.4. The average year that a citizen of Panama completed their education was year 10. There also appears to be a trend in the life average life expectancy of those in Panama increasing while the fertility rate of Panama will gradually decrease.

Estimates have determined that by 2030, the average life expectancy for males will increase from around 73.8 to 76 years. Meanwhile, for females, life expectancy should rise from 78.1 to around 83 years. Simultaneously, as early as 2017, the fertility rate of Panama went down from 2.8 to 2.3 and should continue to decrease into the future.

5 Facts About Panama’s Healthcare System

  1. Many view Panama’s healthcare system in a positive light. According to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) rankings of the healthcare system in Panama, the country is somewhere in the middle ranking 95th out of 191 registered countries. However, the general public, especially ex-pats traveling there, praise Panama for its healthcare, stating that doctors and nurses have a warm bedside manner and that they provide accurate and adequate service.
  2. Panama City has the best health service locations. Most of the top-notch healthcare facilities in Panama are located in urban areas such as Panama City. One hospital, Punta Pacifica, is the most technologically advanced healthcare facility in Latin America.
  3. Private and public services can be equal options. In some cases, such as being in remote areas, if one is not from the country, they might have to use public services. However, depending on the region, public and private services are available. Public services are also equipped technologically and are prepared to deal with basic emergencies and procedures.
  4. Public healthcare is affordable. While pricing varies in healthcare depending on the emergency and location, public healthcare is very affordable in Panama for the most part. A typical visit to a specialist costs about $50 or potentially less. A visit to the emergency room would normally cost anywhere from $30-$100. In some cases, depending on where you are, it may even be free.
  5. Private healthcare systems offer various discounts. Typically, private healthcare in Panama offers around a 20%-25% discount for retirees when it comes to healthcare expenses. However, Panama sometimes gives out discounts during different seasonal times of the year. For example, Panama has sometimes reduced the cost of mammograms during Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.

Panama’s healthcare system certainly has positives that the world can emulate. Affordable healthcare is important in ensuring healthy and productive members of society.

– Alex Havardansky
Photo: Flickr