Today we took our first visit to Austral’s downtown location on the July 9th Avenue. It is a large French inspired building that truly was breath taking. Our first speaker was recently retired after having worked at the Ministry of Health for over 20 years, but he still comes out to speak because according to him, doing absolutely nothing is bad for the brain. His presentation talked about the many differences across provinces in terms of required training and who can obtain what certifications. Overall, the Ministry of Health in Argentina has seen its power greatly diminished by the Argentine’s federalist system, even being downgraded to a secretariat in the past few years. A key part of the federal system is occurrences where the individual provinces have power to make decisions and set law independent of the national government. One of the biggest results from this is a wide variety of different political environments across the different provinces. For example, in different areas of Argentina, the required schooling and accreditations to be considered a nurse vary greatly. This can be quite dangerous because some provinces could be setting the requirements too low in order to encourage more citizens to pursue these careers, but instead what they are doing is sacrificing the quality of care that their patients are receiving. Therefore, you can find inconsistent care being given across the population, which can be extremely inefficient for caring for a population. Federalism makes it hard for a central government to make sure that their population is receiving proper care and ensure that the health system is uniform enough that labor can properly move around the country without having to readjust to new standards with every move.
We also received a lecture on Argentinian history and visited the immigration museum, which is inside of the old immigration hotel that once had enough beds to house 3,000 new immigrants at a time. I had never realized the many parallels between the United States and Argentina historically. They are both built off of the backs of immigrants, with almost 30% of Buenos Aires being foreign born in the early 1900s. It is so very important that we treat immigrants with respect, and from the Argentinians that I have spoken with so far, this seems to be well known. I could not but it any better than our guide, “my grandfather came over from Italy and he is an immigrant now, so how can I speak hate against something I once was”.