January 18, 2010
I’m in Liberia, Costa Rica right now.
Sorry to confuse people with my chronology;
Today I did a television interview at the Santa Monica mammography center. It should be aired tomorrow (1/19/09) on the Noontime news…
Dr. Monica is truly a saint. She is the first woman to graduate from the medical school here in San Jose, Costa Rica. The men running the mammography lab in the local hospital were prejudiced against her as a woman, and would not teach her anything, so she paid for private training in the United States.
She recognized a need among the women here, and makes things happen for women here, skirting the edges of the system, getting women the treatment they need, once diagnosed, rather than making them wait for the system to process them in its absurdly slow manner…
Breast Cancer is an ENORMOUS problem here in Costa Rica.
If a woman has a lump, do you know there is a TWO YEAR wait for a sonogram at the local (free) hospital? If it is a cancerous lump, you just lost your chance at early detection.
A mammogram at a private clinic is $40, and a private sonogram is $20. If people have the money they can get them the next day at snta Monica’s clinic.
Many people ride the bus ALL DAY to get here, and unfortunately only when they discover a really really large lump…and by then it is too late.
Dr. Monica has one patient she told me about that cannot pay, but rides the bus over four hours lugging a giant bag of mangoes, bananas, and other fruits, which she leaves for Monica at the end of her appointment.
I also learned that Santa Monica had to pay $38,000 for her ultrasound machine here in Costa Rica, which is two years old, when she can buy a NEW one in the states for $10,000-$15,000. By the time she finishes payign it off with the interest (in 7 years) it will end up costing her over $60,000.00.
(Sorry, I had my facts misxed up last night–her mammogram machine is 14 years old, and it takes pictures that are not so clear…)
Freaking robbery or what?
The damn thing is the size of a laptop…I told her that if she can figure out how to buy a new one for the clinic, I will drive it down here myself (on a motorcycle of course).
My plea for a hookup:
-Anyone know anyone working at a breast cancer foundation that I could talk to on her behalf to donate breast self-exam brochures printed in Spanish? Or someone that runs a printing company here in Central America that I/we could contact?
-Anyone have a medical industry hookup for an ultrasound, sonogram or mammogram machine? A newer used one at a GREAT price would be ideal.
I am not kidding I will carry it down in one of my panniers October 2010 for Worldwide Breast Cancer Awareness month (well, the ultrasound machine, anyway, mammogram is too big for the bike).