Panama and Costa Rica

2 CentAm health facilities facing delays

Bnamericas Published: Friday, January 20, 2023
2 CentAm health facilities facing delays

A US$434mn health facility in Panama and a hospital in Costa Rica are facing problems, implying possible capex adjustments and long delays.

The head of Panama’s health infrastructure department, Carlos Candanedo, told a TV channel that completion of an oncology institute in Ancón could take up to nine years.

The health ministry canceled the contract for preconstruction studies, architectural design, technical specifications, production of blueprints, construction and maintenance, for which a tender was launched last year.

Difficulties at the construction site, in Clayton sector, stalled progress and the ministry now seeks to acquire a different piece of land.

“We had the possibility of analyzing with the social security management entity the viability of obtaining a different lot with much more versatile characteristics,” Candanedo said. “[The land] involved extensive excavation and filling works. This was an issue. Everything is possible in engineering, but costs could rise,” he said.

Despite the difficulties, 32 companies expressed interest during the first tender meeting in March last year, reported Panamá América.

Candanedo said a new tender would be launched within 45 days. “The project is structured in this way: design and studies, which would take around a year and six months, construction, which would be ready in four years six months, and maintenance which would take three years.”


The Tony Facio hospital, in Costa Rica's Limón province, has been planned since 2018 and would replace a damaged facility that serves 230,000 residents.

“In the case of a severe earthquake strike, the hospital is highly likely to stop working, while the life of the patients and staff would be in danger,” said President Rodrigo Chaves last August, when local media reported that the facility was a priority for social security agency CCSS. 

But on Thursday, local media quoted CCSS head Marta Esquivel as saying that the hospital “was at the bottom of the investment portfolio” and financing was still not secured. She added 19ha in Matama district were acquired for the construction site, but the expropriation process posed some problems.

“We still have to validate the land that was selected … produce pre-investment blueprints. This will take three or four years at best,” she said. “I would like to, at the very least, start construction during the next three years.”

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