Carlos Slim Foundation delivers recognitions of outstanding students of the Diplomas in Vaccinology and Maternal Health

As part of theMesoamerican Health Initiative, Carlos Slim Foundation (CSF) has granted scholarships to more than 1,500 health professionals to pursue Diplomas in Maternal Health and in Vaccinology. These professionals serve 1.6 million people in the most disadvantaged communities in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Panama, where there are high rates of maternal mortality and low vaccination coverage.

On the occasion of the annual meeting of the Donor Committee of the Mesoamerican Health Initiative, the most outstanding 25 scholarship-holders were recognized for their high performance and efficiency during their diplomas.

Representing the government of Panama, the meeting included the participation of Dr. Themistocles Diaz, Minister Counselor of Health; Dr. Jorge Motta, National Secretary of Science, Technology and Innovation; Dr. Eric Ulloa, Vice Minister of Health; Dr. Carlos Staff, Vice Minister of Education; and Ms. Aileen Varela, responsible for the program Mi Escuela Primero (My School First). Furthermore, the meeting was also attended by Dr. Ferdinando Regalia, Chief of the Division of Social and Health Protection at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB); and Dr. Roberto Tapia Conyer, CSF General Director.

“We want to thank Carlos Slim Foundation and the IDB the opportunity to strengthen the training of health professionals in Panama and the region,” said Dr. Eric Ulloa.

Both diplomas are offered through the Interactive Platform for Online Health Education(PIEENSO, for: Plataforma Interactiva para la Educación En Salud On-line). This platform, developed by FCS, is the largest telehealth education platform in Spanish. The aim of the diplomas and courses offered through PIEENSO is to improve the capabilities of doctors, nurses and general practitioners in major health issues.

The academic programs of these diplomas have been developed by recognized experts and are endorsed by prestigious academic institutions such as the Faculty of Medicine of theNational Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and the Miller School of Medicineat the University of Miami.

“The most important investment for health systems to work well is that done in knowledge and motivation of health professionals,” said Dr. Tapia Conyer.

The coordinators of the diplomas in Panama and El Salvador said that “the diplomas not only address medical and scientific issues, but also quality and human warmth aspects to care for the population.” Mercedes Ordoñez, student of Honduras, said: “We can have all supplies, but without knowledge we have nothing.”

Mesoamerica Health Initiative is a public-private partnership launched in 2011 that aims to reduce health gaps in the Mesoamerican region; and is formed by Carlos Slim Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Government of Spain, the Inter-American Development Bank and the governments of Central American countries and the state of Chiapas.

This initiative is aimed at improving the health of women and children through actions related to nutrition, immunization and pregnancy care. Its main achievements include:

  • More than one million women of reproductive age and 650,000 children under five have been benefited.
  • Equipment, supplies, drugs and laboratory tests have been supplied in 1,000 health centers in eight countries.
  • The nutrition of more than 200,000 children has been improved, with micronutrients that help prevent various diseases.
  • More than 5,000 women have been supported by facilitating their transportation to achieve timely care during delivery in health institutions.

These actions represent the interest of the Carlos Slim Foundation to support education and training of human capital in Mesoamerica, and in Panama in particular. On July 25th, with the presence of President Juan Carlos Varela and the Engineer Carlos Slim Helu, the Foundation presented the platform in Panama, which offers free content to people of all ages, regardless of their level of education. The courses of this platform are mainly for job skills training.

With these programs Carlos Slim Foundation, the University of Miami and the IDBsupport the work of Mesoamerican governments to strengthening of the quality and coverage of health services through the Mesoamerica Health Initiative.