Today was a very interesting day as we were able to visit two municipal hospitals in the Tigre municipality. One was in the Tigre Islands and could only be reached by boat and the other was a women and children hospital. North of Buenos Aires, Tigre is a very wealthy region, so it can supply what the government does not. They are also a very unique municipality, because rather than focusing on secondary and tertiary care in the hospital, they put a lot of their money into primary care. One of the chief physicians we spoke to mentioned that 80% of all problems could be solved by primary health care. This system works exceptionally well for the islands because going to a hospital means going to the main land and for many people that may be hours away and they may not even have a boat to get there. By preventing many of the cases from escalating to this point they save many lives.
In the long run, taking a primary care approach saves not only live, but also money. For example, in cases of hypertension, early intervention can prevent the need for medicine and later issues such as chronic kidney failure, heart diseases, etc. which cause far more suffering and cost a lot more to maintain.
It was definitely eye opening to the importance of primary care and the privilege of having a wealthier municipality. The physician was discussing how the government does not provide all that it should be providing and that it promises to provide so the municipality provides for the health care centers. When I asked what happens in municipalities that are not wealthy enough to provide for their citizens, she simply said “people die and get really, really sick.” It truly put into perspective for me just how broken the health care system is and how dire accessible care is.
On a much brighter note, at the women’s and children hospital we were able to visit, I was able to get a closeup view of the newborns and it was the cutest thing and I absolutely adored them all. I am so excited for my future as a nurse and what the world has in store for me. Hasta mañana!