The Tigre Municipality system works because of its main focus on primary healthcare. One of the speakers we heard from last week told us at the end of his presentation that he believes the solution to the Argentinian healthcare problem is more focus on primary care, and today I was able to see the impact of having this mindset. We traveled to Tigre island and then took about a 45-minute boat ride to a community healthcare center, where we stood for about two hours listening to how they operate on the island and all the measures they take to help the community around them. It all starts by awareness. They try and educate the community to help them understand the free access they have to healthcare, and the importance of being informed so that they can receive the help that is necessary to keep their families healthy. They host activities such as pottery classes often with the hope that people in the community may leave having learned something about the benefits available to them. There was even a poster up that was made by the nurses that talked about different methods of contraception and medicines to treat things such as hypertension.
One of the main goals of community health centers like this one is to try and avoid people getting so ill that they need to go to the hospital. They get vaccines, medications, and chronic disease supplies from the ministry of health because they are considered national problems. Things that are not covered by the national government are supplied by the municipality which pays everything else such as worker’s salaries and transportation fees. Having a system like this clearly benefits the entire community because everything is more monitored and it prevents as many people from getting so sick and having to all check into hospitals that will then become overcrowded.
The mainland of Tigre has a lot of money and this is why Tigre is able to have such a nice and interconnected system. It is also not a huge community; all of the homes seemed much more spread out compared to places that are all stacked on top of each other and falling down like I’ve seen on our bus rides. Because these wealthier members of the community make up so much of the population it makes it more simple to help fund the municipality that then takes care of their needs. Even the public hospital that we visited later today was much nicer than what I though Tigre would be able to afford. Because there is such a strong focus on primary healthcare in the area, at the mother and children public hospital the patients seem much more well off than they would be living in poverty.