Why Pink Ribbons When Mammograph in Tuzla Has Not Worked for a Year?

Piše Sanja Hajdukov

It is completely ironic and meaningless to wear a pink ribbon in Tuzla to support patients with breast cancer because the mammography machine in the Public Institution Healthcare Centre Tuzla has not been working for over a year – the only one, for that matter.
It is also being said that there has been a year and a half, but I do have an entirely accurate fact. Exactly a year ago, in this same place, I wrote about how I went for a scheduled breast mammogram, as I had done every year before, but I have been returned with the words: “The device does not work, we will call you as soon as it is fixed.”
It was October and I somehow believed in that symbolism. For the first month, I believed that someone would call me, but as time passed quickly, the months went by and somehow in February I found out that the device still did not work and that we have been, like it is the case more often than not in this country, cooling our heels in vain.
I am one of those who can work things out, who can pay, so I easily found a private clinic where all the devices work.
A Message Instead of Picture on Camera
Municipal Councillor in Tuzla Jasminka Mijatović showed me a document in which she posed a Councillor’s Question with a request to reduce the queues and waiting lists for examinations at the Healthcare Centre, which relate to appointments because everyone in Tuzla Canton knows that waiting time for many tests can be a year or more. By the time you get your turn for examination, it is too late for any intervention.
Mrs. Mijatović submitted this initiative in 2013. To date, this issue has never been put on the agenda; a thematic session on this has never been held, nothing. The last session of the City Council was held seven days ago, but via the Zoom platform.
One councillor, instead of his picture on the camera, held a piece of paper that read, “Fix the mammograph”, during a session that lasted until late in the evening. This item was placed at the very end of the agenda and the session was adjourned before that item was discussed, and the next one will be held only when a new council is formed.
There is an expansion of private polyclinics and medical practices in our canton. And there should be, if it supports the development of entrepreneurship. In private clinics, all the equipment works, everything is neat and operational.
Seven days ago, the Tuzla Healthcare Centre celebrated 97 years of existence. Humbly, they say, because there are no funds for more luxurious celebrations. This almost century-old institution has existed long enough to see that it has not been able to repair the device on which lives of many women depend, for more than a year.
Tens of thousands of women gravitate to the Tuzla Healthcare Centre, most of whom actually undergo examinations in private health institutions, which they pay a lot for. Many women never undergo them. Mortality from such diseases is the highest in Europe and I think that no one in the world does not understand why this is so.
The storm was raised by this topic on social networks, where many women left comments that they could not pay for examinations, that they did not have the money. Those who have been unsuccessfully waiting for a mammogram for the past year have been told at the Healthcare Centre to go to a private clinic and apply for a refund. Many probably did so.
The refund procedure itself is demanding, so many women, if they are alone, elderly and unlettered, cannot even do it without someone’s support. Some of the comments we were able to read said that some women did not have the funds for this either, because they have been waiting for a refund for months as well.
Doctor Bilja As Tito
That the boundaries of the Entities exist only in human heads and the manipulative moves of our politicians is shown by the fact that swarms of women from Tuzla Canton have been treated and examined in Doboj for years.
Doctor Biljana is a very famous person in Tuzla and the region. Biljana is trusted and her opinion is highly appreciated. Why? Because she saved hundreds of women in north-eastern Bosnia, maybe even thousands, who come to see her, an experienced and dedicated radiologist, for examinations. Biljana has her own private radiological practice and has proven to be an expert and a good person. She knows how to alert, to comfort, to advise, to instruct.
Biljana has functioning diagnostic devices. How does the doctor unite the region? She is like Tito, almost no one even knows her last name. Following every suspicion, even the slightest one, regarding a breast problem, a woman in the Tuzla Canton will immediately tell another woman: “Go see Bilja and go as soon as possible!” And, immediately, we all know who Bilja is, that is enough, because trust and reputation are built with results.
Tuzla is about 60 kilometres away from Doboj. There is not a single day without a few cars, with three or four women who share transportation, sent to Doboj. There is harmony, brotherhood, there are no national tensions. Nobody cares that Biljana is a Serb, that Doboj is in the Republika Srpska, that Bilja’s examinations are not free of charge. She knows her job and provides correct diagnoses. She timely alerted numerous women for operative treatments, devotedly and unceasingly examining their findings, following postoperative treatments and looking forward to recovery.
Biljana is a trusted woman. However, it seems that it is enough for the management of the Tuzla Healthcare Centre that there is Biljana in Doboj. The giant Healthcare Centre, which is celebrating 97 years of successful work, seems comfortable knowing that women will find ways and self-organize to go to Bilja or some other private clinic and that simply amnesties the fact that the mammograph in Tuzla has not worked for over a year.
Numerous Questions
Why then talk about breast cancer prevention? How much does it cost to repair a mammograph, which this is not the first malfunction of? How old is that mammograph and how much will it work after it is repaired and if it is repaired one day? What could be the reason not to fix it? How many more years will the City of Tuzla, busy boasting various tourist and all other development parameters, discuss the poor organization of work in the Healthcare Centre and is there a justification for the seven-year-unanswered Councillor’s Question?
Is the health of women in Tuzla Canton more important to Biljana from Doboj than to the Canton and the cities? Is the coronavirus an opportune amnesty for all delayed examinations, surgeries, treatments? Until when? Why hasn’t the City, which boasts extraordinary results, bought a mammograph until now? Maybe in the past seven years, the need was not to talk about the mammograph, but to buy a new one; not one, but three?
Why was the 97th anniversary of the Healthcare Centre even modestly celebrated if there is no functioning mammograph in it in the 21st century? Also, why is there only one? If women in the Tuzla Canton wait for a year to get a breast examination, pap smear and other tests, why don’t we get twice as many of those practitioner’s offices?
What kind of explanation it is, what kind of reason it may be, what kind of plague and cholera can prevent the repair of an essential device at this day and age? Can this device be repaired at all, is it worth it, and is the procurement of a new one planned in the foreseeable future, less than seven years, the same time this topic has not been able to get on the agenda of the municipal council?
In Tuzla, any and all initiatives, pre-election activities, elections, and all meetings should look like the computer screen of Councillor Kasumović, which reads, unremittingly: “Fix the mammograph!”.

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