Eva Peron was a woman of the people and in a similar way, the public health care system is healthcare for the people. Both served the people of Argentina in long lasting ways. But did one lead to or at least inspire the other? I believe the answer is yes. Eva Peron, commonly referred to by the nickname Evita, came from a small town and moved to Buenos Aires at just 15 to pursue an acting career. Eventually young Eva Duarte married Juan Peron and became the Eva Peron many know her as today. During her time as first lady, Eva fought for women’s suffrage, created a foundation, and maintained a temporary home for girls, amongst other charitable acts. She had passion and love for Argentina and all who inhabited it.
This attitude and motivation still lives on, particularly in the primary care health posts that we were able to visit throughout the past two weeks. The men and women who staffed these centers were doing astounding work. They were often understaffed and undersupplied, and yet they all had a deep commitment to not just the people in their community, but any person who crossed their paths seeking care. While doctors and nurses in the public and private hospitals may also feel very connected to their patients, the lengths to which some of the center employees went were unmatched.
Eva also had a more direct and hands on impact on public healthcare in the establishing of the Eva Peron School of Nursing. The program was two years long and offered classes in anatomy, hygiene, pathology, first aid, gynecology, pediatrics, and more. Before this school, there was no real medical training of nurses and they essentially served as servants to the doctors. She revolutionized the role and teaching or nurses for the entire country and based on the sheer number of nurses we met on this trip, she truly left her mark in this sector.
The passion and commitment the Eva had towards everything she did is truly something I want to emulate in my practice. Thank you Evita and your immortal soul!