Mercy Surgical Oncologist Dr. Armando Sardi Leads A Medical Mission To His Native Cali, Colombia
Mercy surgical oncologist Dr. Armando Sardi
Mercy surgical oncologist Dr. Armando Sardi, Director, The Institute for Cancer Care, organizes an annual medical mission trip to his hometown of Cali, the third largest city in Colombia, South America. Dr. Sardi is founder of United Hands for Health, Inc., an outreach program (established in 2005 by Dr. Sardi) which has helped more than 35,000 patients in the past seven years, “and the numbers continue to grow. Their vision is not only to change the lives of these individuals, but to impact the whole community in which they live,” Dr. Sardi said.
According to Dr. Sardi, a total of 34 physicians, nurses and volunteers will be making the trip to Cali, March 7-24th. “We are planning to do a capacity building program and working with the oldest hospital in Colombia, Hospital san Juan de Dios. We will be focusing in breast and cervical cancer. The specialties will be general surgery, plastic surgery for breast reconstruction, gynecology oncology, anesthesia, primary care (To see the other co-morbidities in patients with cancer) medical oncology, pathology and dietician. We will be doing some telemedicine and a lot of teaching will be going on working hand and hand with the doctors and nurses there.”
Typically, the outreach mission will include surgery, administering medical care, and teaching during a week-long mission. Goals have included developing a self-sustainable long-term cancer program initiated by a local Cali hospital, providing medical supplies and ongoing education and training throughout the year.
Through funding through various organizations, the cancer program acquired a digital mammography machine and 10 chairs for the medical oncology chemotherapy infusion unit. The Susan Komen Foundation supplied funds for 240 mammograms and United Hands for Health, Inc., provided funds to hire a social worker to help implement follow-up care for the cancer program. The 2012 mission was conducted in five medical institutions, providing numerous medical disciplines including internal medicine, general surgery, gynecology, orthopedics, urology, physiotherapy, ENT, pediatrics, medical and surgical oncology, plastic surgery, head and neck surgery, dentistry and pathology.
Cali is home to more than 2.5 million inhabitants, and nearly 1.3 million adult women. In spite of the relative economic stability of Colombia as a nation, nearly 40 percent of Cali residents live I poverty. Moreover, recent political progress which ensures national access to health services to all women in Colombia has had a limited effect in Cali, where the burden of cervical and breast cancer remain substantial.
The non-profit organization Partners for Cancer Care and Prevention is playing a role to help, serving to assess barriers to breast and cervical cancer screening and treatment in Cali and working to improve access to high quality early detection and intervention. Partners for Cancer Care and Prevention has initiated a formal partnership with the San Juan de Dios Hospital, which provides more than 60,000 patient visits each year in Cali.
For more information, to make a donation to the Colombia Medical Mission, please contact the Institute for Cancer Care at Mercy at 410-332-9294.
Founded in 1874, Mercy Medical Center is a university-affiliated medical facility named one of the top 100 hospitals in the U.S. by Thomson-Reuters with a national reputation for women’s health. Mercy is home to the nationally acclaimed Weinberg Center for Women’s Health and Medicine as well as the $400+ million, 20-story Mary Catherine Bunting Center. For more information visit Mercy online at www.mdmercy.com, Facebook, Twitter or call 1-800-MD-MERCY.