For this weekend, we went on a trip to Atenas to survey the people on what they thought about their health system. Atenas also happens to be Luis’ hometown. We all met at ICDS in the morning and drove an hour away to Luis’ parents house to have breakfast. Usually, Luis said he would book a restaurant for breakfast, but since we are such a large group (18 students), it was harder for him to find a place. His parents were super welcoming and it was nice to get a home cooked meal from his mom.
After breakfast, we split into two groups. Half of us went to a clinical and the other half went to an EBAIS. EBAIS is their first level of care and is smaller than a clinic. An EBAIS only consists of one physician, one nurse, and one ATAP, which is a person who goes around from house to house providing health services. The EBAIS was very small and still relied on paper medical records. The clinical was fairly huge and there were a lot of people waiting. We got to see the laboratories and how some of their medical equipments worked. It was very interesting seeing the machines used for blood testing and the way it translated the results.
For lunch, we went back to Luis’ parents for lunch. They made a delicious veggie pasta dish with garlic bread. It was very nice of them to host us. Later that day, we went to a nursing home and danced with the elderly people. They were celebrating the 102nd birthday of one of the residents and had a mariachi band. It was super fun and it great seeing the elderly in action. After a long day, we finally arrived at our hotel. It was very nice and even had a pool. It also had a nice green pathway that led to our room with hammocks. We had dinner at the hotel, which wasn’t the most satisfying meal. Some of us drove into town and got pizza and ice cream to fulfill our stomaches.
The next day, we visited a dentist office and a private doctor’s office, and got to ask them questions. Both of the offices were very small and a one person business. It was amazing to see the dedication that they have to serve their people and to attract patients abroad for medical tourism. After that, we got into our groups and handed out our surveys that we made in class to the people of Atenas. From our results, we found out that people are generally happy with the services providing, but wish the waiting time were shorter. People would wait at 4am at the EBAIS to get an appointment in the day. At the end of the day, we went to visit Sarchi, a city in Costa Rica known for their oxcarts to carry coffee with their beautiful designs. We had a painting workshop and got to paint a wheel from the oxcart. I enjoyed it and we stopped by the souvenir shop before we left for San Jose.