The first obvious difference between Argentinian and Australian health care is that of their immigrant health policies. In Australia, with a large focus on asylum seekers, it was clear that they have little to no access to health care until they are declared as refugees, and even then it could be difficult to find affordable and culturally appropriate care. Small grass-roots organizations that we learned about and visited in Sydney have started to recognize this lack of health care for immigrants and have focused their attention towards helping people obtain the care they need. However, this is much different from Argentina in which health care is provided to any person who enters a public health care facility, regardless of whether or not they have documentation of their immigration status. The issue with this is that it is causing a large influx of Bolivians and other peoples from surrounding countries to enter the country for health care and leave immediately after their needs are met. Australia’s policy was put into place to decrease the number of immigrants and Argentina’s policy was created to make health care more accessible, but the former just created health care disparities between immigrants and non-immigrants and the latter just increased non-permanent immigration. Both systems have seen negative consequences that are currently an issue for both countries.
In comparison to China, I wonder what the conditions of rural health care are in Argentina. In China there is a resting disparity between the care received in urban areas as compared to rural areas, so much so that it pushes those to major cities to receive the care they need. Being situated in another major city, Buenos Aires is not representative of the majority of Argentina, so I am curious as to what coverage and access is present in these areas. In China we learned about the Barefoot Doctors popularly used in the 1960s and I wonder if there was ever anything similar in regions that many gauchos and farmers lived. Even seeing the hospitals in the greater Buenos Aires area, outside of the city, on our way to the estancia, it was clear that they were less modern and well kept then those I have seen while in the city.
An additional question that I have regarding Argentinian health care is that of its European influence. Having learned that Argentina is a country built on Italian, Spanish, French, and other European cultures and populations, I can see that these are still present today. In terms of health care, I have seen multiple hospitals for specific European ethnic groups including the German and French hospitals. I wonder if these hospitals attract people with those backgrounds, especially older patients that may easier communicate with the staff if they know the language correlating with the hospital’s focus. This in ways could segregate ethnic groups among Argentina, but may also make certain patient feel more comfortable in a health care setting catered towards their ethnicity.