This profile was prepared when Alberto Vázquez was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2006.
The New Idea
Alberto is correcting deep inefficiencies in Argentina’s current health care system. Patients overburden hospitals rather than seeking treatment at Primary Attention Centers, and spend disproportionate funds on treatment at the expense of prevention. Alberto’s model builds the Primary Attention Center’s role by training local people to serve as health promoters. He ensures that the community’s specific health concerns are addressed locally and motivates medical professionals at those centers long-considered to be outposts of health service. In the process, the role of the general practitioner is revived as patients get more personal attention and physicians refocus on preventative care. Alberto has forged institutional alliances to strengthen evaluation methods and management with the aim of replicating his model on a wide scale and influencing policy. Most importantly, since he is promoting a more efficient use of existing funds, Alberto’s far-reaching changes can be achieved without budgetary implications.