We spent the day in the municipality of Tigre, a delta with several islands near Buenos Aires. It was nice to get out of the city and see a different part of Argentina. We started by visiting Puesto Sanitario Delta Tigre, a community health center. After that, we visited Hospital Municipal Infantil de Tigre, a hospital for women and children. Both centers were public and municipality funded. It was interesting to see how similar the hospital was to Austral, the private hospital we toured last week.
After spending several days focusing on the Argentine healthcare system, we have a decent grasp on how the public system operates. As Dr. Rubenstein, (an Austral Professor) stated, the public healthcare system in Argentina mostly focuses on access to hospitals. These public hospitals are funded by taxes but are free to anyone who needs care. Today we visited the municipality of Delta Tigre, a collection of islands near Buenos Aires. The public healthcare system in Tigre is much different than many of the other municipalities in Argentina because the focus is on primary care. Rather than funding large hospitals for anyone to use, there are community health centers with physicians and other medical professionals. This variance in models can be attributed to several different things and has many benefits. The low population density of the region means that the people are spread across the islands and not very concentrated. Because of this, it does not make sense for a single hospital to serve many people that would have trouble getting there. Having numerous centers allows for more people to have access to healthcare services. As our presenter mentioned, 80% of the population needs primary care, while 20% of the population needs hospital care. By using the primary care system, the municipality is doing the greatest good for the greatest amount of people.
Tigre is able to function in this way because of the wealthier people that reside there. The more money the residents make, the greater the tax revenue generated. By having this tax revenue, the municipality is able to fund more centers rather than one large hospital. As we saw at the center, the employees take many steps to ensure that they are reducing costs as much as possible. For example, they do not use lights or air conditioning unless it is absolutely necessary. This allows for a cheaper way to maintain the centers and provide help to those in less concentrated areas.
Tomorrow we are headed to a community center to volunteer and help wherever needed. We will then have lunch downtown, followed by a tango lesson!
PS – Shoutout to our professor for buying everyone ice cream!!!