Media Center

Press Release


  March 20, 2003

The Organization of American States (OAS), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Argentina’s White Helmets Commission and the government of Panama are joining forces to help raise the quality of life of Panama’s Ngobe Bugle indigenous community under a program set to begin at the end of the month.

The White Helmets Initiative Support for healthcare and nutritional education training is intended to help improve the quality of life for indigenous communities in the provinces of Boca del Toro, Chiriquí and Veraguas. The assistance involves training, public awareness and education programs in healthcare and nutrition. The programs will also help the community to better utilize its resources.

Sparsely populated, the geographic region to be covered is poor and marginalized because it lacks proper basic education and healthcare services—areas to be specifically addressed under the venture. Children have been the main victims of malnutrition, poor health conditions and recurring endemic diseases.

The project will benefit the communities’ residents—in particular students at educational facilities, as well as teachers and families. Each educational center will establish groups of agents to conduct quality control of health and nutrition conditions as the basis of subsequent recommendations.

Twelve volunteers—five Argentineans and seven Panamanians—with the relevant experience will conduct the program, working directly with the beneficiaries. They will plan, make policy recommendations and devise strategies and practical approaches to achieve objectives.

The IDB, OAS, White Helmets Commission of Argentina and the government of Panama are funding this six-month project, to the tune of US$253,600.

Reference: E-061/03