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News > Panama

Panama: Doctors Reject Changes in Certification Exams Scores

  • Health personnel prepares to administer COVID-19 vaccines, San Miguelito, Panama, March 4, 2021.

    Health personnel prepares to administer COVID-19 vaccines, San Miguelito, Panama, March 4, 2021. | Photo: EFE

Published 8 March 2021

Authorities lowered the mandatory minimum score that professionals must obtain to pass their medical certification exam.

The Academic Council of the University of Panama (UP) demanded the Health Minister Luis Sucre repeal a resolution that temporarily lowers the score for obtaining medical certification. 


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The resolution establishes that doctors who aspire to an internship in the Health Ministry (Minsa) and the Social Security Fund (CSS) will be able to pass the exam with a minimum of 360 points, which represents 34.5 percent of the exam's value. The previous minimum was 405 points.

The Interinstitutional Council of Basic Certification in Medicine justified the adjustments, noting that Minsa and CSS facilities needed 100 percent coverage of interned physicians amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"To decrease the percentage of the qualification to practically failure levels is detrimental to the quality of our health professionals," UP professor Julio Sandoval said.

The Panamanian Association of Medical Residency (Aspami) also expressed its "absolute rejection" of the decision, highlighting that the score's reduction has no scientific support and endangers the population since doctors could enter the system without the proper preparation.

The UP Academic Council noted that Law 43, which established the rules for certifying health professionals, was the result of a 20-year discussion to guarantee that health professionals have the competence, knowledge, and skills to safely attend to the population. 

"The State of National Emergency declared by the current pandemic should not be an excuse to neglect and diminish the academic excellence that we have sought for doctors in training, over the years," Aspami warned. 

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