Fundacion Ortiz Gurdian
In October, members of the Austin Samaritans Board visited Fundacion Ortiz Gurdian (FOG), a clinic that provides screening and treatment, free of charge, for breast and cervical cancer to women of limited means in Nicaragua. The women served by this clinic have a monthly income of $175 or less and are not covered by the government insurance program.
Screening is provided at the clinic. Treatments, other than surgery and radiation therapy, are provided at the clinic. Surgery and radiation therapy are provided at a nearby hospital and the cost of these treatments is paid by FOG. Follow-up monitoring is provided for a period of five years. If at any time during those five years, or later, the cancer reappears, treatment is again provided.
FOG has a very active public awareness program. Women who are cancer survivors, called “prometoras”, talk to family, friends, and neighbors about the importance of screening and early detection and treatment. Historically in Nicaragua, cancer carries a stigma; and women do not seek treatment until the cancer is in an advanced stage where it is difficult or impossible to treat.
FOG also has a program to provide cancer survivors with skills and increased self-esteem Approximately 20 women meet each month to participate in this program.
Austin Samaritans is currently exploring assisting the clinic to obtain some biopsy supplies that are not available in Nicaragua.