Panama: AIDS Activists Demand Access To Medications

PROBIDSIDA, a foundation dedicated to the well being and dignity of people living with AIDS in Panama has initiated a campaign demanding from the Caja de Seguro Social (the government health care provider) access to new anti-retroviral therapies. Currently the Panamanian government is offering AZT despite the dangers of developing rapid resistance to other forms of medication. Members of PROBIDSIDA have had conversations with government authorities who have repeatedly refused to do anything and have told them the responsibility for creating change lies with the activists themselves.

PROBIDSIDA has asked the international community to send a strong message to Panamanian health authorities by sending letters of solidarity to the following fax numbers or addresses. If possible please indicate your organization and from what part of the world you are writing.

The text of the fax could be as follows:

"We the members of ________________________________ support the actions proposed by PROBIDSIDA: that the "Caja de Seguro Social" of Panama and other government entities provide access to new anti-retroviral medications."

Panamanian activists are heartened by the recent success in Costa Rica and the impact of the international involvement on the resolution of the Supreme Court case which resulted in the provision of anti-retroviral therapies to people living with HIV/AIDS in Costa Rica. For more information on this decision, see Emergency Response Network Action Alert, Volume VI, Number 5.

Please send your letters and faxes to:

Sra. Aída de Rivera
Ministra de Salud
Apartado 2048, zona 1
Panamá, Rep. de Panamá
Fax No. 507-227-5276
Sra. Marianela Morales
Directora General Caja de Seguro Social
Apartado 1393, zona 1
Panamá, Rep. de Panamá
Fax No. 507-261-2208
Sr. Ernesto Pérez Balladares
Presidente de Panamá
Apartado 289, Zona 1
Panamá, Rep. de Panamá
Fax No. 507-228-1061

PROBIDSIDA asks that copies be sent to their lawyer, or if only one letter of support can be faxed that it be faxed to him:

Sr. Ricardo Lachman
Apartado 9654, Zona 4
Panamá, Rep. de Panamá
Fax No. 507-264-4730
E-mail: nquinter@pananet.com