Given the saturation of the Argentine health system, doctors and volunteers from the non-governmental organization, will you give me an hour? they seek to "decompress" the hospital waiting lists with free consultations for people who live in the street or who are in a vulnerable situation.
The initiative, which began four years ago the cardiologist Mariano Masciocchi in a parish of the capital's neighborhood of Almagro, has created a wave of solidarity in the Argentine health scene based on the idea of asking its members only one hour of their time.
"Maybe it's not having a coffee in a bar or not going to a salsa class and at that time you can give a lot of things, more than you imagine, to a person who has nothing," explains Efe Masciocchi , president of Will you give me an hour?
The Argentine doctor decided to start this project in 2014, the year in which his father died and he was divorced, two events that made him rethink his life and realize that "he was not doing anything for others".
"These sopapos that gave me life at that time helped me to try to get out of that bubble," he says.
However, he found that during the first two years that he was going every Saturday morning to the parish of San Carlos, he only attended one or two patients when he had the capacity to consult fifteen.
A letter spread by social networks turned this "frustrating" situation and, to this day, the civil association organizes several medical consultations a week and treats about 500 patients each month.
"In Buenos Aires there is a lot of street situation, people who live in the sidewalk (sidewalk) of the portals of the houses covered with cardboard and that pass many inclemencies both in summer, with terrible heat that can reach 40 degrees, and in winter , with temperatures that can reach zero, "says Masciocchi.
Karen Arauz, a Bolivian doctor who is a member of the association's board, said that the people who serve in parishes and on the streets have all kinds of difficulties, from flu-like symptoms to winter temperatures, skin problems due to lack of hygiene, infections, hypertension or diabetes.
To treat them, they have a network of around 60 volunteers, among them nurses, nutritionists, psychologists, pediatricians, cardiologists and many people without medical knowledge who also lend their time, in addition to about 30 specialists in other areas from which they derive. patients
The founder of the civil association clarifies that a "parish will never be a hospital".
They offer primary medical care and at best they can prescribe medicines if they see it necessary, but their function is not to substitute public health, but to "decompress" their saturated waiting lists.
However, in this way health professionals can give their patients a warmth of treatment that in hospitals is difficult to provide due to the frenetic pace of work.
In fact, many times people in street situations are more grateful for this kind of close treatment, with hugs, handshakes and friendly slaps on the back, than the medical consultation itself.
"There are people who have lived on the street for 20 years and people who pass by do not even see them, they told us: 'We feel the furniture of the city of Buenos Aires,'" says Arauz, pointing out how these people value a lot. plus gestures of kindness and the attention of volunteers.
After arriving in several Argentine provinces, such as Santiago del Estero and San Juan, one of the objectives of "Will you give me an hour? for the next year it is to expand beyond the borders of the country and reach countries like Bolivia, Colombia and Venezuela, where they already have collaborators.
Also, not satisfied with their work, they have proposed to improve the quality of the treatment to the people of few resources that they attend, so that the hour they receive is even more profitable.