Contact: Wendel Sloan at 505.562.2253
Reporter: Donna Gutierrez
ROSWELL – City and county officials were joined on Aug. 23 by Democratic candidate for governor, Bill Richardson and local organizers, Steve Gonzales, Wilfred Brady, and ENMU-Roswell Division of Health chair Jane Batson for the kick-off of a fund raising campaign to establish a new women's health care program in Chaves County.
The program centers on the purchase of a mobile mammography van that will provide preventive health services for low income women.
The mammography van, equipment and staff for the program is expected to cost $400,000. Project organizers are using donation jars placed in local businesses to create awareness about the project and begin raising funds. The first donation jar was placed at El Charro Tortilla Factory in Roswell. A bank account has been established at Wells Fargo Bank, where donations can also be deposited. REACH 2000 will serve as the fiscal agent.
Richardson made the first contribution to the project, saying he was glad to participate in this important effort. Batson said there is a need for additional preventive health services for women in the county, especially for those without a pay source. She said currently only two locations offer mammograms and women must wait up to four months for appointments. Batson estimates that at least 5,000 low income women in Chaves County have no access to mammograms or other preventive health care because of their inability to pay and/or access services.
Though the mobile unit, women would receive services like mammograms and pap smears regardless of their ability to pay. The partners involved in the project are barrio leaders, ENMU-Roswell Division of Health, the Chaves County Health Planning Council, the Community Care Network and other interested community partners.