Walking in the corridors of the Faculty of Medicine of La Plata is like observing an OAS (Organization of American States) convention. Every step of the way you can listen to Latin American Spanish or heated conversations in Portuguese. A nearly 100-year-old building that stands in front of La Plata Forest has been transformed into a cosmopolitan space.
It is not an exaggeration: one of the two entrants seeks to become a foreign doctor. For the courses of the 2013 cycle that began on February 1, 4,471 young people in that nation registered at the National University of La Plata (UNLP) and 2,168 -48% – have a document from another country.
But this phenomenon hides another fact that stands in the statistics: of the total number of students who come from abroad, half (1,170) are Ecuadorian. In this way, the Brazilians (17.5%, with 421 registered), the Colombians (14.5%, 350 registered) and the Peruvians (9%, 226 registered) were placed in the classrooms of La Plata.
The house of study becomes a beacon, a pole of attraction for those who seek training. This happens at the same time that the profession in the Province (and in other jurisdictions) goes through various fights: professional health protests due to low income and poor working or building conditions; lack of coverage of crimes in the public system. And a third persistent factor: violence against doctors in hospitals and guards.
The heavy heat of the first days of March makes Gabriel Esparza Mediavilla (20) shiver as he enters the last spaces of Avenida 60, near 122, class. That is “Gabo” (as an Argentine nickname) is from Ibarra, Imbabura province, in the Ecuadorian mountains, and the temperatures are more friendly.
Intclligi A thermometer marked 36° near La Plata Forest. “There (the second place of birth) we have only two seasons and we are never above 28 degrees and below 20 degrees,” laments the student.
“I chose Argentina because in my country it is almost impossible to get a medical degree. It is a strict examination that the Secretary of Education asks and then places to enter the university. The Year I Came (2021) You had 7377 points out of 1,000 to qualify. And then there is one year, like the CBC of UBA”, explained Gabriel Clarín about the reasons for his decision.
The free education of the superiors and the authority of the UNLP are the variables that – according to the young people consulted by Clarín – determine the choice. The most recent publication of the Global Ranking of Universities (produced by a scientific institution in Spain) placed the universities of La Plata as the second most important in the country and one of the top 15 in America.
“UNLP has a historical tradition of receiving students from other countries, especially from the region and in Medicine. We understand that higher education is a public and social good, University president Martin López Armengol told Clarín.
Health care in Argentina has had a historical attraction for non-residents. The latest statistics from the Secretariat of University Policy (SPU) determine that one in four foreigners enroll in the health area, out of a total of 156 academic offers.
The paradox of training teachers who leave
The situation is different when the training stage ends. “The public health system presents conditions that do not favor professional integration. Low salaries, lack of personnel in the constitutions, serious infrastructure problems in buildings, lack of supplies and equipment”, described the president of Cicop (union of provincial health professionals) Fernando Corsiglia.
A doctor who starts a career in the public administration charges 172, 400 pocket pesos and the first 152,500 resident year, according to what the chief Clarín said.
“The information of outsiders in the race offers different lessons. First, many of the facilities that have been formed will not integrate the public health program, because they will return to their regions. I don’t have statistics, but we know that some people stay and strengthen our system,” Corsiglia acknowledged.
In order for a race to enter the province, a state is required. Not all stages of the process are complete. Those who escape from the “schools” in a precarious situation, recognizes the person who is in charge of Cicop.
Until 2015, the UNLP Faculty of Medicine had a strict system of selecting entrants. Between 450 and 600 students entered the first year after tough admissions tests. That mechanism was eliminated and since then between 5,000 and 7,000 audits per year have been reported.
The ability to train, but a member of the public does not go to the health system. “For about 6 years there have been vacant positions for admitting residencies of many medical specialties, a situation that has never been recognized and is of course a serious attack on medical training,” describes Diego Bares, head of the film’s operations. San Martin Hospital and Clinical Professor at UNLP.
The reasons, according to Bares: “poor wages, negative work environment, active guards (24 hours a day). The difficulty of finding professionals also belongs to the private system. For this reason, some institutions cannot complete the established guards”.
Melany Quiroz (19) was born in the city of Santo Domingo, an area called the Ecuadorian “coast”. “In my country, access to the academy is difficult – he agrees with his compatriots – and well for those who can travel to Russia or Argentina,” says “Mel”, as he is known in the 16th Anatomy Commission.
“A friend came over a few years ago and I followed in his footsteps. We are here in one of the main universities of Latin America and we do less than if we go to study in Quito,” he said.
That is where one of the main factors of the Ecuadorian phenomenon enters: the children who spoke with Clarín agree: they live in La Plata with 200 to 300 dollars per month. Ecuador supports the dollarized economy and the devaluation of Argentina’s currency.
“My parents saved my whole life so that I could study. With that organization I can make my life here”, Esparza Mediavilla summarizes the conversation.
Private education in the country does not seem to be an option, at least for Ecuadorians who arrive in La Plata. “It costs you an arm and a leg. A cycle of medicine is around 5,000 dollars a year and, as you progress, the value goes up”, Mayerlín Morcillo (20), who is in his second year and is about to start his third year in Buenos Aires, told Clarín.
The opportunity has not yet come from the pandemic
Favorable financial conditions and free will. The formula by which he calls foreigners into medicine. But not everything is as it seems. The magnitude of the pandemic affected academic conditions.
“Last year I had an hour of anatomy every 15 days. The full attendance has not yet been achieved. We had to practice listening techniques with YouTube videos”, said Gabriel.
Last year, when life was almost normal post-Covid, medicine continued with more than half of its virtual courses. There were student protests to be allowed to go back to school.
Also, the dean John Angel Basualdo agreed to the votes of the students for re-election in office, in exchange for the restoration of face to face. Basualdo has been restored, but a dozen chairs with classes from Zoom are still preserved.
“I studied histology all over the world. This is not the part that I imagined when I decided to travel to La Plata,” acknowledges the Ecuadorian University student.
Clarín tried to collect the position of academic medical authorities on this note, but they did not respond. None of the present proteins are produced. This week, 75% of the nearly 900 students who took the biology exam failed.
In August 2022, all those who presented an Infectious Disease test were released. A few months ago, 80% of students in Anatomy “C” (one of the chairs of the first year) and the same percentage in Infectology (fourth year) failed the first partial tests that were conducted after more than two years. of virtual classes.