We divided into two groups on Friday morning. One group visited San Isidro, a public infant and maternity hospital. They reported poor infrastructure, yet high quality of care through a free system supplied much by the federal and provincial governments. My group did not travel as far as we stayed in the city of Buenos Aires where Juan A Fernandez Hospital is located. As another public hospital, this one seemed much better maintained in terms of infrastructure and was actually one of the top five hospitals in the Buenos Aires area. This is mainly due to their source of funding, which comes directly from the municipality as it is governed individually from the federal and provincial systems. They are also globally recognized for their specialty in HIV treatment due to their long history of treating local syphilis patients. Interestingly, they maintain this role on a small budget of only 5 million dollars per year not including salaries.
We visited the botanical gardens in Palermo for the afternoon after a delicious lunch at the Evita Museum. Our tour of the museum was later, but I thought it was very interesting as our tour guide walked us through her history and legacy in Argentina. Coming from outside the city to pursue acting, which resulted in being the First Lady of Argentina and almost becoming Vice President of the state as a predominant social and feminist leader. This activism and change of thought could be seen through the hospitals as they striving for patient rights through quality and safety of care. The director of Fernandez hospital mentioned how the try to bring the best care to the poorest people which is a mentality I feel Evita would have also carried. Women’s rights were also a major theme within the maternity hospital and ensuring that education is stressed under pregnancy conditions, a topic that drove much of Evita’s work who was part of the Women’s Suffrage Movement. While she may have been controversial, her progress is undeniable to date.
Public healthcare is very different than the private sector we have seen, but keep in mind we were only able to view a select few, all within the relatively richer province of Buenos Aires. Therefore, I am curious to see how different regions and companies operate specifically in terms of their values and goals in their care as the Argentine customs are what I find most unique about the system with their strong religious ties that inspire the work.