Today we spent the day in the municipality of Tigre, an area known for having most of their land area being comprised of islands. We started the day with a boat tour of the islands, and then we toured Puesto Sanitario Delta Tigre, the community health clinic that provides primary care for the community. Next, we ate lunch at Tigre Boat Club, shopped at the artisan’s market, and ended the day with a tour of the Hospital Municipal Infantil de Tigre.
Tigre is interesting because its healthcare system is centered on primary care, which is different from the majority of Argentina, which has hospital-centered systems. The community health center strives to prevent or care for 80% of the community’s health conditions, so that only the most severe 20% need to end up in a hospital.
Tigre is able to have such an extensive primary care based system because of the tax revenue it generates from its relatively richer population With this large tax revenue, the municipality can fund multiple primary care centers for the community that can work towards preventing health issues in place of one hospital that serves as a last-ditch resort to treat people after they couldn’t afford to practice preventative care in the first place. Additionally, the population density in the islands is very low, so it makes more sense to have various primary care facilities spread out than only one hospital, as this proves to be more accessible.
Inhabitants of the Delta Tigre islands have little access to care outside of the community health clinics, since they are far from hospitals and pharmacies in an area that is difficult to navigate. The primary care facilities help to fill the gap in healthcare for the residents because they work to prevent health issues, so that people are less likely to need to use a hospital in an emergency. Although the municipality is relatively rich, Puesto Sanitario Delta Tigre often sees low-income patients. In this regard, primary care is much more feasible than a hospital-based system because primary care can operate at low costs and reduces the need for costly hospital care in the future. Primary care is a valuable tool that helps to promote a healthier population and reduces healthcare costs in the long run.