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Red Cross Will Not Cover the Nosara Fiesta
• Health emergencies will be the responsibility of private enterprise
• Red Cross says it has no responsibility for problems arising from this decision

By emiliana garcia

Red Cross in the Esperanza rodeo during the month of November.

The Nosara Development Association (DNA), the organizing body of the January Fiesta, decided not to hire the Nosara Red Cross (NRC) for the fiesta which begins January 27. Instead, they have contracted with a private ambulance to provide emergency services during the 5 days of the event.

 According to Marco Avila, President of DNA, the delayed responses from the Red Cross to requests for service sent by the DNA, generated "mistrust." Avila told VON that on 15 December the response issued by the NRC was not yet ready and it didn’t included the service contract which is needed to continue related procedures. "We were not confident that they will respond (delivered the contract) in time," said the president of the festivities.

The participants must submit all documents requested by the government, 22 days before the start of the activity. Meaning that all documents were to have been ready by January 5th.

"Also”, adds Avila, "they wanted to charge us 750,000 colones ($1483) for the 5 days, but for the Tope (Horse show) the fee was 100,000 colones ($200), 40,000 colones for each transfer to the Hospital de Nicoya ($80), and they asked that we pay 100% of the cost in advance, we cannot do that because we do not have the money. It was too much”, said Marco Avila.

For his part, Carlos Villalobos, President of the Red Cross Nosara, says the reason given by the DNA for hiring a private ambulance instead of the NRC, was a matter of cost.

"That is irresponsible, since that event, due to its magnitude, must have a plan. The Red Cross is always prepared with more trained staff who come from various committees. We have to cover these expenses.  The fiesta requires 3 to 5 units, depending on the day. These activities include not only bulls, but also dances, carnival rides, and other fiesta programs. The private driver is only going to cover the bulls, but what about the rest of the activities?” Said Villalobos to VON via email.

Naomi Coto, Head of Press of the Red Cross in San Jose, clarified "If a health services company complies with all (legal) requirements, then it can be hired. But this has happened to us before, a little company with one ambulance is hired, an extraordinary situation arises, and it ends with the Red Cross assuming the responsibility for it.”

Villalobos clarified "They (the NRC) are not responsible for any problems this decision of the DNA may cause during the fiesta events."

The contract with the prívate health company by the DNA is with Development Association Pro Health Specific Health Maintenance in San Antonio. The company provides an ambulance driver, nurses and trained staff. The cost of the service is of 625,000 colones for the 5 days including the Tope.


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