The Importance of Public Primary Health Care in Addressing Infant Morbidity in Buenos Aires, Argentina: A case study of primary health care center of “La Esmeralda” in Florencio Varela
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Infant morbidity is an important indicator of the health status of infants within a population, and furthermore serves as an indicator of socioeconomic stability of a particular population. It is defined as both communicable and non-communicable disease impact on infants of one year of age and under. Often times, infant morbidity is caused by lack of access to basic and adequate living conditions. Through the collection of statistics on infant morbidity within specific populations, a framework is constructed to develop healthcare practices specific to the health problems faced in individual regions. In Argentina, many issues of infant morbidity are solved within the primary level of the public sector of healthcare. By focusing on the primary level of public healthcare in Argentina (opposed to the secondary and tertiary levels), one is able to develop an understanding of many basic health issues, which communities face everyday that lead to infant morbidity. For these aforementioned reasons, my thesis case study was conducted in Florencio Varela, a municipal outside of the autonomous city of Buenos Aires. Specifically, this project focused on the primary public center of health (CAPS) by the name of La Esmeralda, which serves the population in the barrios of La Esmeralda, Santa Rosa, Libertad, Villa Susana, and a few new barrios that have not yet established official names. Many people in this area live in precarious conditions without access to electricity, gas, clean water, sound living establishments, and other basic conditions. For these reasons, problems with infant morbidity are very predominant, and are often addressed by the center of La Esmeralda. Interviews were conducted with five different staff members of this center and other professionals who have studied or contributed to the study of the primary level of care in Argentina. This thesis discusses results and analyzes data from interviews, observation, and research on the health care system of Argentina, including a brief discussion on the history, development, and importance of public health practices in the world today.