Market Medicine in El Salvador

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Write historian Jim Dunlap, who teaches in El Salvador:

Medicine as practiced in El Salvador’s private sector: You call for an appointment. The receptionist remembers your name and makes an appointment for your son for 6:00PM the next day. You drive to the office building and, because of the hour, there is no waiting. You are greeted by name and ushered back to see the English-speaking pediatrician. There is no nurse or any other staff. Since he ordered blood work before, he goes over all the results in great detail. He spends time talking with you and your son. He gives your son a complete physical. He talks some more about you and your son’s progress. He writes the presciption and sends you on your way with a firm handshake. Back at the receptionist’s desk you pay $33.00 in cash, she writes your receipt and you head to the drugstore nearby. At the pharmacy nearby you are welcomed with unfeigned enthusiasm. The pharmacist shakes your hand. All personel in the shop are there to SERVE YOU. Since there are at least eight people on the job, your prescription is filled in a hurry and you head home.

11:57 am on December 3, 2008