01 June 2007


(This was supposed to be posted yesterday, but ADSL was down all day at home, thanks to Telecom's noisy telephone lines.)

Rosario has a new hospital! Last Wednesday the city unveiled a new emergency hospital (Hospital de Emergencias Clemente Álvarez, HECA) that is, they say, the most modern in Latin America. (Coverage: La Capital, Rosario3, Rosario/12, El Ciudadano, Télam, La Nación, Municipality of Rosario).

There's actually an original HECA in a different place, but the building is old and has so many problems that most of it is going to be demolished once the new HECA is working, 90 days from now. Right now, the staff is getting familiar with the new layout and testing the equipment.

Getting a replacement for the old emergency hospital was a long-awaited dream for the municipal government. The works started in 1997... and then, like everything else, they stopped, as everybody's plans went down the drain. Argentina effectively lost four years or more to the recession and the economic crash, so it is only now, ten years afterwards, that HECA is ready.

The building is truly impressive, but the special touch is the light. The idea was making it more like a resting place, where patients can see the progression of day and night directly, and less like a closed box where sick people are stored. So the façade is all made of transparent glass. Besides the aesthetics, though, this is a modern hospital with top-notch equipment and much bigger than the old one: 155 beds (23 more than the old hospital), a covered area of 22,000 m² (more than double the original building), and RMI and CT scanners — and, following public health policy, accessible to everybody, no matter the cost. The hospital plus the equipment cost 45 million pesos (about US$15 million).

The location is also important: it's right on one of the city's main arterial streets (Pellegrini Avenue), a couple of blocks from its intersection with another major road (Francia Avenue). Since the HECA serves emergencies, quick access from the city and the metropolitan area is needed (most of the graver traffic accidents in Greater Rosario will end up there).

I'll leave the political gossip for another time... Suffice it to say that, while the Socialist municipal government proudly showed the new hospital to the media and the people, the Peronist provincial government was trying to explain away why pharmaceutic companies have cut provincial hospitals' credit and now demand instant payment in cash.

Also, no photos on this one for now. Check the links; some have nice pictures and even videos. Yesterday it was overcast and unpleasantly cold, so I chickened out of my original plan to go there after work and grab some shots of the hospital's façade. I suspect it takes a sunny day to look pretty, too.

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