Our sixth day in Recoleta felt quite long. We began the morning slightly later than the past few days, but with a two-hour lecture from a retired employee of the Ministry of Health. My group is the Ministry of Health and the questions I had for the speaker weren’t clearly answered and I honestly left slightly more confused than I came. The man tried to break down the system and explain to us, however the way the national ministry runs differently than provincial ministries is a hard concept for me to grasp.
A federal government from my understanding is a confederation of states or in Argentina’s case, provinces. These provinces all set their own rules but they are overseen by a central or national government which also has regulations. The ministries are similar to the departments in the United States. This brings certain challenges because sometimes one ministry might not recognize or agree with another ministry. For example, the education ministry may say that someone who was once qualified to be a surgeon can still perform surgery after 20 years post-practice, but obviously the ministry of health would find that unethical. Other challenges that can come up, relating to health particularly, are the fragmentation and differences among provinces. Each province sets their own rules, so the treatment received inside public hospitals in different regions can vary greatly; especially in regions that have a lot of poverty. Another issue mentioned by our first speaker is difficulty training foreign nationals that have come to Argentina.
Some benefits of having a federal system is that everything isn’t completely centralized or controlled by one part of the government so not one person has too much power. Also having the national ministry of health in addition to ministries for each province allows them to give out funds to each. They provide money for immunizations and hospital equipment, and the regions that are more impoverished sometimes get additional funds to prioritize more pressing issues.
After our first speaker we then went to eat lunch on a street that had lots of cool stores that I would definitely like to go back to. Also the street that Austral’s downtown campus is located on is beautiful so getting the opportunity to explore it during the day would be really nice. Following lunch, we went back to the university for another lecture that lasted about an hour and a half on Argentine and culture. The last thing we did today as a part of the program was go to the Immigration Museum.