Argentina offers both a public and private health care system. About 18 million Argentinians have health insurance through their unions and go to clinics called obras sociales for medical care. About 4 million people from the middle and upper classes are privately insured. Some large private health insurance companies have their own hospitals.

About 12 million people, a third of the population, do not have health insurance. Of these, almost half are children. Those without health insurance go to public hospitals when they need treatment. These hospitals are equipped to handle emergencies, but may not have the facilities for all forms of treatment. Government cuts to the public health system have left many poorer Argentinians without access to needed health care services.

Although most areas have a safe water supply and healthy living conditions, in certain interior regions, particularly in the north, and in the villas miserias of the cities, living conditions are very poor. Many homes in these areas have no running water, sewage system or electricity, and there may be no health care facilities nearby. AIDS-related diseases are growing, and cholera and tuberculosis have reappeared in some regions.

 Did you know? 
Ernesto Guevara, an Argentinian doctor, helped to lead a revolution in Cuba. His frequent use of the word "che," a Mapuche word meaning "man," got him his nickname, Che Guevara.


 Did you know? 
One area in Buenos Aires is nicknamed "Villa Freud" because so many psychoanalysts and psychologists have offices there.