COSTA RICA NEWS – The lack of gynecologists and lack of infrastructure and equipment at the Tony Facio Hospital in Limón forces pregnant women ready to deliver to make the 160 kilometreS trip to give birth at the women’s hospital in San José.

Photo: Albert Marín, La Nacion
Photo: Albert Marín, La Nacion

This past week alonE, six women had to make the trip in a minibus, that includes the 35 kilometres of the most dangerous road in the country, that winds through the mountains of the Braulio Carrillo national park.

This is not the first time and probably won’t be the last, say health officials.

Medical Management at the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS) created a role that doctors have dubbed “Limón Week”, where doctors take turns in attending (in San José) Limón women in labour with some level of risk to themselves and their babies.

The role began on July 18 at the San Juan de Dios Hospital and will end on September 22 at the Hospital Nacional de las Mujeres (Women’s Hospital). The program also includes the Hospital Mexico and Calderon Guardia, whose neonatology ward often exceeds 134% occupacy.

The Tony Facio Hospital in Limón has only two gynecologists. To properly attend the needs of the community, the hospital should have five, to attend the average of 4.000 births annually, says Silene Aguilar Orias, deputy director at the hospital

The death of five women last year, during and after giving birth, was the straw that broke the camel’s back and allowed Tony Facio hospital officials to justify to CCSS authorities the need for support from other medical centres.

According to Angie Hernández Cubillo, one of the two specialists in obstetrics and gynecology at the hosptial, half of the ten maternal deaths in the entire country last year were of women of Limón.

However, obstetrics and gynecology are not the only specialized areas experiencing a crisis right now.

According to deputy director Aguilar, urology, dermatology and neurology, for example have waiting lists exceeding 14.000 hospital patients.

Aguilar explains that one of the problems facing the Limón hospital, is the lack of medical specialists interested in working there.

Source: La Nacion