A Conclusion, Not An Ending

Today was long, but it was definitely one of the most memorable days so far on Plus3 Argentina. We headed back to Austral where we were lectured on the structure of Argentina’s healthcare system by Dr. Fernando Rubinstein. While we have learned much about this topic on our trip already, I felt that Dr. Rubinstein’s lecture helped to answer any questions or misunderstandings I had about how the Argentinian healthcare system functions.

Next, we headed to Austral’s community health center in Pilar, a privately owned center that supplies free healthcare services to the surrounding neighborhood for both children and adults. Though the center is small, it serves close to 2,000 families, and provides other programs such as homework help and sports clubs to the community.

I especially enjoyed going to our third destination, another community health center that also included a school for young children. It was so fun to interact with the kids, who were very curious about the group of American students that randomly walked in during their recess.

Our final place of the day was the most powerful for me. We had the opportunity to visit Hospice Buen Samaritano, where we met Dr. Nanjun who spoke to us about his work at the palliative care center he helped create in 2009. Though the work he does is very sad, I appreciated Dr. Nanjun’s perspective on the patients that come to his center. To some, death may seem like the end of life. However, to Dr. Nanjun, death is merely a conclusion, but the beginning of the celebration of an individual’s life. The patients at Buen Samaritano were inspiring, and even in the circumstances they faced, were at peace with their situation and welcoming to us as visitors. I greatly value this part of our program. It was something I was somewhat unsure of at first, but the experience ended up allowing me develop a different perspective on hospice care, and I am incredibly grateful for that.

In all, while today was long, it was one that taught me some lessons that I will value even after coming home from Argentina. Tomorrow, we visit the Ministry of Health. I’m excited to hopefully gain a little more knowledge on its involvement in Argentina’s healthcare system. Talk tomorrow, ¡Hasta luego!

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