The Ministry of Health of Matagalpa, with the technical support form PAHO/WHO, conducted from 7 to 11 of March 2011 a training workshop and a drill with the participation of members of the Rapid Response Teams (RRT) of Matagalpa, Masaya and Chontales. 

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Experts from Central America and Dominican Republic analyzed in Costa Rica the progress related with preparation and response to health emergencies. The aim of this workshop was to exchange experiences and to work, in a coordinated manner, in the areas of organization, preparedness and response to health emergencies such as epidemics and pandemics.

This meeting brought together health workers from different areas such as epidemiology, communication, health services, drinking water, risk management and laboratory, among others.
 

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State of emergency has been declared in the provinces of Panama, Colon and Darien due to the heavy rains from the last weeks. The National System of Civil Protection in Panama (SINAPROC in Spanish) maintains the red alert in many of the affected areas.

According to the reports 10 people died, 1 person is missing, 14.320 people are affected and about 5.092 people are in 26 shelters at the moment. At least 26 health facilities of the Ministry of Health have been affected with damage to both equipment and water and sanitation systems.

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Several overflowing rivers and floods have been reported in the northern region of Central America due to the heavy rains. Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Belize have been affected with power cuts, damages on the infrastructure and water and roads shortages.
In this context, countries are dealing as well with the impact of Tropical Storm Matthew, which threatens to increase the vulnerability of the area.

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Authorities of the Ministry of Health and Social Security Institution (Caja de Seguro Social in Spanish) of Panama signed a Cooperation Agreement in order to strengthen the coordination in the management of emergencies and disasters. This agreement is part of the Safe Hospitals global strategy and prioritizes a shared agenda to achieve the goal of hospitals safe from disasters by the year 2015. 

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