Special Update: First Lady of Panama and Minister of Health join Komen to Talk About Breast Cancer

Guest blog from Susan G. Komen Regional Manager, Latin America, Tauane Cruz, MBA

Minister of Health Dr. Javier Diaz presents on the state of cancer in Panama

Komen is proud of the work happening in Panama, especially now when cancer is at the forefront of Minister Javier Diaz’s agenda. Appointed in 2012 as the Minister of Health for the Republic of Panama, he has been avidly advocating for health systems improvements and the continued specialization of healthcare professionals to address the cancer burden in Panama, particularly breast cancer. Driving awareness and promoting breast cancer education alongside Minister Diaz is Marta Martinelli, First Lady of the Republic of Panama.

The First Lady’s dedication to the cause is evidenced by the mobile mammography program she instituted in 2010 – “Amor sobre Rueda” (Love on Wheels) – which as of May 2013 has reached over 14,900 people providing 7,020 mammograms, 5,686 ECGs, 1,179 pap smears, 996 obstetric ultrasounds and 19 colposcopies in 9 regions throughout Panama.

Marta Linares de Martinelli, First Lady of the Republic

On Wednesday, June 19th, Susan G. Komen hosted an event to celebrate the completion of the report Barriers and Opportunities in Health Care for Women in Panama City 2012. The report, commissioned by Komen and funded by the Caterpillar Foundation, provides evidence and insight into some of the health system issues women face in accessing care in Panama. While we know awareness is a key component of the work that has to be done, we also understand that it is necessary to address system barriers that exist and delay/prevent women from accessing breast cancer services throughout the continuum of care. The findings of the report will allow Komen to further target our grant making to address systematic barriers and improve breast health outcomes.

Key outcomes of the report were presented by Dr, Maria Roquebert of Gestion Social. She was joined by a panel of presenters including First Lady of the Republic of Panama, Marta Linares de Martinelli, Minister of Health, Dr. Javier Diaz, Caterpillar Human Resources Manager for the Americas, Marlene Rodriguez de Flores, and our very own Dr. Catherine Oliveros, Regional Director for Susan G. Komen.

The event also provided an opportunity to celebrate 2012-2013 Caterpillar grant recipients, Fundacion Ayuda a Ayudar (FundAyuda), CONAMUIP and Casita de Mausi.

About the author

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Susan G. Komen has written 282 articles for Susan G. Komen® | Blog

Nancy G. Brinker promised her dying sister, Susan G. Komen, she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer forever. In 1982, that promise became Susan G. Komen and launched the global breast cancer movement. Today, Komen is the world’s largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists fighting to save lives, empower people, ensure quality care for all and energize science to find the cures. Thanks to events like the Komen Race for the Cure®, we have invested more than $1.9 billion to fulfill our promise, becoming the largest source of nonprofit funds dedicated to the fight against breast cancer in the world.