It may seem like years away but founder of the Pink Ribbon Charity Montserrat, Inc. Sonia Charles says 2030 gives the island the time needed to procure the right machine and train staff to offer mammography services here.
Speaking at the Breast Cancer Awareness Evening on Wednesday, October 5, 2022, Charles, who is a clinical specialist sonographer working in the UAE, said the ultimate goal of the charity is for women in Montserrat to be able to get examined on the island and early enough to save their life.
Currently, the Pink Ribbon Charity funds the cost of mammograms at the Belmont Clinic on Antigua as there are no machines in Montserrat.
Since 2009, the charity has helped more than 300 women to get the exams.
“Making 2030 would align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals number three “Good health and well-being for all,” the charity president told the gathering.
Charles shared developments in the technology which now provides for more accurate diagnosis for women with different breast densities. Women of African descent and over 40 tend to have denser tissue which make it more difficult to discover lumps. Ideally, she explained, Montserrat would need to acquire a 3D mammography machine.
During her time on the island, the charity head met with Governor Sarah Tucker, Premier Joseph Farrell and officials at the Programme Management Office who are working on the new hospital. She told them that the government needs to have a radiologist employed ahead of any machine purchase as they would need someone who can assist with the certification process. Charles also met with Chief Medical Officer Dr. Sharra Greenaway and Permanent Secretary of Health Mrs Camille Gerald-Thomas to discuss future radiology services and staff training in advanced ultrasound imaging techniques.
“Montserrat can build a hospital that meets international requirements. Any new machinery needs to be certified to World Health Organization standards for Montserrat’s hospital to be an accredited entity,” Charles explained. “The services of a medical physicist and radiologist are essential for the functioning of a safe radiology service (especially Xray and CT scan since they involve the use of radiation). Time is needed to build the right team for Montserrat.”
Martin Parlett of the PMO said of their meeting “we discussed the plans for the new national hospital and for the implementation of new life safety critical equipment, including 3D mammography. We look forward to continued collaboration as we progress healthcare reform with the Ministry of Health & Social Services.”
The week of activities ended with the Pink Ribbon Walk with almost 300 participants walking from Lookout to Little Bay Market on Saturday, October 8, 2022.