Review article

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Achievements and pending issues in psychiatric reform in Panama and Spanish speaking Central America

Logros y pendientes de la reforma psiquiátrica en Panamá y Centroamérica de habla hispana


The return to democracy in Central America has led to economic and social development policies that have had effects on the health sector and, likewise, on mental health plans. From 2001, the World Health Organization (WHO) developed a mental health strategy with the purpose of reducing the gap between mental health population needs and resources that are effectively assigned to this area. This article describes and analyzes the results of mental health care systems assessments that were undertaken in the Central American countries based on the Assessment Instrument for Mental Health Systems (WHO). These results lead to optimism in the implementation of the Regional Strategy and Action Plan for Mental Health of the Pan-American Health Organization for 2010-2019, but also open the way to new challenges for the region.